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V  /y 


l 


LIBRARY 

OF  THK 

UNIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA. 

Class 


DAS34 


DEDICATION, 


TO  DOCTOR  FREDERICK  QUIN,  M.D. 

I  DEDICATE,  my  dear  Q,uin,  this  work  to  you — one  of  the 
most  intimate  friends  of  that  gifted  lady  who  is  the  subject 
of  it,  and  whose  entire  confidence  was  possessed  by  you. 
I  inscribe  it  to  you  in  remembrance  of  old  and  happy  days, 
of  kind  friends,  and  of  many  intimate  acquaintances  of  our 
early  days  in  Italy— of  people  we  have  met  in  joyous  scenes 
and  memorable  places;  some  highly  gifted,  subsequently 
greatly  distinguished,  most  of  whom  have  passed  away  since 
you  and  I  first  became  acquainted  with  the  late  Countess 
of  Blessington  in  Naples,  upward  of  thirty  years  ago. 

Perhaps  these  pages  may  recall  passages  in  our  young 
days  which,  in  the  turmoil  of  the  cares  and  struggles  of 
advanced  years,  it  may  be  a  sort  of  recreation  to  our  wearied 
minds  and  jaded  energies  to  have  presented  to  us  again  in 
a  life-like  form. 

In  treading  on  this  old  Italian  ground  once  more,  and  that 
portion  of  it  especially  best  known  to  us — a  fragment  of 
some  bright  star  dropped  from  heaven  : 

"That,  like  a  precious  gem,  Parthenope 
Smiles  as  of  yore — the  syren  of  the  sea" — * 

*  The  Heliotrope,  or  the  Pilgrim  in  Italy,  a  Poem,  by  Dr.  W.  Beattie. 

224239 


1V  DEDICATION. 

wo  may  have  many  graves  to  pass,  and  memories,  not  only 
of  dear  friends,  but  of  early  hopes,  to  make  us  thoughtful. 

But  I  trust  we  shall  have  also  some  pleasing  recollections 
renewed  by  these  Memoirs,  and  our  old  feelings  of  affection 
ate  regard  revived  by  them. 

I  am,  my  dear  Q,uin,  faithfully  yours, 

R.  R.  MADDEN. 
LONDON,  >"ov.  1,  1854. 


CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


INTRODUCTION. 

T'AGB 

Early  Origin. —  Pedigree  .of  the  Sheehy  Family. —  Notice  of  maternal 
Grandfather. — Career  of  Edmund  Power. — Marriage  of  Marguerite 
Power. — Captain  Farmer's  Death. — Coroner's  Inquest  and  Verdict  of 
the  Jury 1 

CHAPTER  I. 

Notice  of  the  Earl  of  Blessington. — His  Origin  ;  early  Career. — First  and 
second  Marriage,  &c , 38 

CHAPTER  II. 

Departure  of  the  Blessingtons  from  London  on  a  Continental  Tour,  Sep 
tember,  1822 63 

CHAPTER  III. 
Byron  and  the  Blessingtons  at  Genoa G9 

CHAPTER  IV. 

The  City  and  Bay  of  Naples. — The  Blessingtons,  and  their  Society  in 
Naples,  June,  1822,  to  February,  182G 80 

CHAPTER  V. 

Departure  from  Naples. — Sojourn  in  Rome,  Florence,  Milan,  Venice,  and 
Genoa. — Return  to  Paris. — February,  182G,  to  June,  1829 99 

CHAPTER  VI. 

Return  to  Paris  in  June,  1828. — Residence  there. — Death  of  Lord  Bless 
ington. — Departure  of  Lady  Blessington  for  England  in  November, 
1830 11Q 

CHAPTER  VII. 

Conversational  Powers  of  distinguished  Persons. — Scamore  Place  and 
Gore  House. — Literary  Circles. — Rival  Salons  of  Holland  House  and 


V1  CONTENTS. 

Reunions  at  the  Countess  of  Charleville's. — Residence  of  Lady  Blcss 
ington  at  Seamore  Place  from  1832  to  1836  ;  and  Gore  House.  Ken 
sington  Gore,  from  1836.  to  April,  1S4'J  .  . 

CHAPTER  VIII. 
The  Break-up  at  <  ion-  House .16.") 

CHAPTER  IX. 

Arrival  of  Lady  Blcssington  in  Paris  the  middle  of  April.  1819. — Her 
last  Illness  and  Death  on  the  4th  of  June  following. — Notice  of  her 
Decease •  1*1 

CHAPTER  X. 
Notice  ol  the  Career.  Literary  Tastes,  and  Talents  of  .Lady  Blcssington.    1!)~ 

CHAPTER  XI. 

Notice  of  the  Writings  of  Lady  Blessington. — Connection  with  the  An 
nuals. — Results  of  her  Literary  Pursuits 214 

CHAPTER,  XII. 
Poetical  Effusions  addressed  to  Lady  Blcssington  by  various  Persons.  .    251 

CHAPTER,  XIII. 

Notice  of  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay. — His  Origin. — Some  Account  of  his 
rarlv  Life. — The  Close  of  his  Career,  and  Observations  on  his  Talents, 
and  the  Application  of  them '4(>'J 

CHAPTLR  XIV. 
Preliminary  Notice  of  the  Correspondence  of  Lady  Blessington 317 

CHAPTER  XV. 
Sir  William  Gel!  3^J 

CHAPTER  XVI 
Letters  of  Sir  William  (Jell  to  Lady  Blessington   .  1533 

CHAPTER  XVII. 
Letters  of  Sir  William  Gell  to  Lady  Blessington  .     .  330 

CHAPTER  XVIII. 
Lrttcr*  of  Sir  William  Gell  to  Lady  Blessington  .  .    ;«;-.> 


CONTENTS.  yn 

CHAPTER  XIX. 

t*A<JK 

Sir  William  Drummond. — The  Abbe  Campbell ,   335 

CHAPTER  XX. 

Charles  Reilly,  Esq.,  Surgeon  R.  N. — Dr.  Quin. — Sir  Ferdinand  R.  E. 
D.  Acton. — Sir  Frederick  Faulkner. — The  Duke  de  Laval  Montmoren- 
ci. — Miss  Bathurst. — Piazzi. — Sir  Augustus  D'Este. — Captain  Hesse. 
— Captain  Garth 396 

CHAPTER  XXI. 
The  Hon.  Richard  Keppel  Craven,  and  the  Margravine  of  Anspach  ....    -109 

CHAPTER  XXII. 

Thomas  James  Matthias,  Esq.,  F.R.S.,  F.S.A. — James  Millingen. — Ed 
ward  Dodwell. — The  Archbishop  of  Tarento 422 

CHAPTER  XXIII. 
Count  Matuschewitz. — Prince  Schwartzenberg -13y 

CHAPTER  XXIV. 
The  Duke  D'Ossuna -142 

CHAPTER  XXV. 
Monsieur  Eugene  Sue. — Vicomte  D'Arlincourt 44t> 

CHAPTER  XXVI. 

Casimir  Delavigne. — Alfred  De  Vigny. — Dwarkanauth  Tajore. — Rich 
ard  Wcstmacott 458 

CHAPTER  XXVII. 

Letter  from  John  Auldjo,  Esq.,  to  Lady  Blessington. — Dr.  Polidori. — 
Sir  \V.  Drummond's  Odin . .  .  46G 


APPENDIX. 

No.  I. 
Notice  of  Lord  and  Lady  Canterbury,  and  of  Mrs.  Fairlie 475 

No.  II. 
The  Fate  of  the  Sheehy.s  in  1765  and  17fiG   .  .484 


yjji  CON  TENT  6 

No    III 

The  Case  of  Bernard  Wright,   Editor  of  Edmund  Power's   Paper,  the 
Clonmel  Ga/ette 500 

No.  IV 
Certificate  of  .Marriage  of  Captain  Fanner  to  Miss  Marguerite  Power.  .  .    513 

No.  V. 
Notice  of  Captain  Farmer's  Letter  in  the  Dublin  Evening  Packet 513 

No.   VI. 

Proceedings  on  Inquest  on  the  Body  of  Joseph  Lonergan,  shot  by  Ed 
mund  Power,  and  Bill  of  Indictment  and  Information  against  Power  .    51  n 

NO.  ML 

Prosecution  of  Edmund  Power  for  Libel  on  Colonel  Bagwell 520 

No.   VIII. 

Certificate  of  Burial  of  Memlvers  of  the  Blessinirton  Family  in  St.  Thom 
as's  Church,  Dublin 523 

No.  IX. 
Account  of  the  Encumbrances  on  the  Blessington  Estates.  ...........    524 

No.  X. 
Rental  of  Blessington  Estates,  occ 528 

No.  XI. 
Gore  House 529 

No.  XII. 
Count  D'Orsay  and  the  Prince  Louis  Napoleon 529 

No.  XIII. 
Theatrical  Tastes  of  Lord  Blessington's  Father 537 

No.  XIV. 
Duel  between  Michael  Power,  Esq.,  and  Captain  Kettlewcll 537 

No.  XV. 
Precis  of  Trial — M'Carthy  versus  Solomon  Watson.  Banker,  of  Clonmel .    K>7 


A   MEMOIR 

OF    THE 

LITERARY  LIFE  AND  CORRESPONDENCE 

OF    THE 

COUNTESS  OF  BLESSIMTON, 


INTRODUCTION.  • 

THE  task  of  Biography  is  not  comprised  only  in  an  attempt  to 
make  a  word — picture,  and  likeness  of  a  person  that  can  be 
identified  by  its  resemblance  to  the  original ;  to  narrate  a  series 
of  striking  passages  in  the  life  of  an  individual,  whose  career 
it  is  intended  to  illustrate ;  to  record  dates  of  remarkable  events, 
and  particulars  of  important  occurrences  ;  to  give  a  faithful  ac 
count  of  signal  failures  and  successes  ;  to  delineate  the  fea 
tures  of  the  individual  described,  and  to  make  deportment  and 
demeanor,  manner  of  thought,  and  mode  of  expression,  clearly 
perceptible  to  those  for  whom  we  write  or  paint  in  words. 
These  are  essential  things  to  be  done,  but  they  are  not  all  that 
are  essential  in  human  life-history,  which  should  be  descriptive 
not  only  of  external  appearance  and  accidental  circumstances, 
but  of  the  interior  being,  dispositions,  and  actual  peace  of  mind 
of  those  of  whom  it  treats.  The  great  aim  to  be  accomplished  is 
to  make  the  truthful  portraiture  of  the  person  we  describe  and 
present  to  the  public,  stand  out  in  a  distinct  shape  and  form,  dis 
tinguishable  from  all  other  surrounding  objects,  an  instructive, 
directive,  suggestive,  encouraging,  or  admonitory  representation 

VOL.  I.— A 


of  a  character  and  career,  as  the  case  may  be.  The  legitimate 
aim  and  end  of  that  representation  of  a  life  will  be  gained  if 
the  biographer,  in  accomplishing  his  task,  makes  the  portraiture 
of  the  individual  described  advantageous  to  the  public,  renews 
old  recollections  agreeably  as  well  as  usefully  ;  looks  to  the 
future  in  all  his  dealings  with  the  past ;  draws  away  attention 
from  the  predominant  materialism  of  the  present  time  ;  vio 
lates  no  duty  to  the  dead,  of  whom  he  treats  ;  no  obligation  to 
the  living,  for  whose  benefit  he  is  supposed  to  write  ;  if,  with 
out  prejudice  to  truth  or  morals,  he  indulges  his  own  feelings 
of  kindness,  and  tenderness  of  regard  for  the  memory  of  those 
who  may  have  been  his  friends,  and  who  have  become  the  sub 
jects  of  his  inquiries  and  researches  ;  if  he  turn  his  theme  to 
the  account  of  society  at  large,  of  literature  also,  and  of  its 
living  votaries  ;  if  he  places  worth  and  genius  in  their  true  po 
sition,  and,  when  the  occasion  calls  for  it,  if  he  manfully  puts 
forward  his  strength  to  pull  down  unworthy  and  ignoble  pre 
tensions,  to  unmask  selfishness,  to  give  all  due  honor  to  noble 
deeds  and  generous  aims  and  efforts  ;  if  he  sympathizes  sin 
cerely  with  struggling  merit,  and  seeks  earnestly  for  truth,  and 
speaks  it  boldly.  And  if  he  has  to  deal  with  the  career  of  one 
who  has  played  an  important  part  in  public  life  or  in  fashiona 
ble  circles,  and  would  attain  the  object  I  have  referred  to,  he 
will  have  to  speak  freely  and  fearlessly  of  the  miseries  and 
vexations  of  a  false  position,  however  splendid  that  position 
may  be — miseries  which  may  not  be  escaped  from  by  any  efforts 
to  keep  them  out  of  sight  or  hearing,  either  in  the  turmoil  of 
a  fashionable  life,  in  the  tumult  of  its  pleasures,  or  in  the  soli 
tude  of  the  dressing-room,  the  stillness  of  which  is  often  more 
intolerable  than  the  desert-gloom,  the  desolation  of  Mar  iSaba, 
or  the  silence  of  La  Trappe. 

All  this  can  be  done  without  composing  homilies  on  the 
checkered  life  of  man,  or  pouring  forth  lamentations  on  its  vi 
cissitudes,  and  pronouncing  anathemas  on  the  failings  of  indi 
viduals,  on  whose  conduct  we  may  perhaps  be  wholly  incompe 
tent  or  unqualified  to  sit  in  judgment.  There  is  often  matter 
for  deep  reflection,  though  requiring  no  comment  from  the  biog- 


INTRODUCTION.  3 

rapher,  to  be  found  in  a  single  fact  seasonably  noticed,  in  a 
passage  of  a  letter,  a  sentence  in  conversation,  nay,  even  at 
times  in  a  gesture,  indicative  of  weariness  of  mind  in  the  midst 
of  pomp  and  pleasure,  of  sickness  of  spirit  at  the  real  aspect  of  so 
ciety,  wreathed  though  it  may  be  with  smiles  and  blandishments, 
at  the  hollowness  of  its  friendships,  and  the  futility  of  one's 
efforts  to  secure  their  happiness  by  them.  I  am  much  mistaken 
if  this  work  can  be  perused  without  exciting  feelings  of  strong 
conviction,  that  no  advantageousness  of  external  circumstances, 
no  amount  of  luxury,  no  entourage  of  wit  and  learning,  no  dis 
tinction  in  fashionable  or  literary  life,  no  absorbing  pursuits  of 
authorship,  or  ephemeral  enjoyments  in  exclusive  circles  of 
haut  ton,  constitute  happiness,  or  afford  a  substitute  for  it,  on 
which  any  reliance  can  be  placed  for  the  peace  and  quiet  of 
one's  life. 

An  intimate  acquaintance  and  uninterrupted  friendship  with 
the  late  Countess  of  Blessington  during  a  period  of  twenty- 
seven  years,  and  the  advantage  of  possessing  the  entire  confi 
dence  of  that  lady,  are  the  circumstances  which  induced  the 
friends  of  Lady  Blessington  to  commit  to  me  the  task  of  editing 
an  account  of  her  Literary  Life  and  Correspondence.  To  many 
other  persons  familiarly  acquainted  with  her  ladyship,  eminent 
in  different  walks  of  literature  and  art,  distinguished  for  abilities 
and  acquirements,  and  well  known  in  the  world  of  letters,  this 
task  might  have  been  confided  with  far  more  service  to  the  ex 
ecution  of  it  in  every  literary  point  of  view.  But,  in  other  re 
spects,  it  was  considered  I  might  bring  some  advantages  to  this 
undertaking,  one  of  no  ordinary  difficulty,  and  requiring  no  or 
dinary  care  and  circumspection  to  surmount.  The  facilities  I 
refer  to  are  those  arising  from  peculiar  opportunities  enjoyed 
of  knowing  Lady  Blessington  at  an  early  period  of  that  literary 
career  which  it  is  intended  to  illustrate,  and  the  antecedents  of 
that  position  in  literature  and  the  society  of  intellectual  celeb 
rities  which  she  occupied  in  London. 

The  correspondence  and  other  papers  of  Lady  Blessington 
that  have  been  made  use  of  in  these  volumes  are  connected  by 
a  slender  thread  of  biographical  illustration,  which  may  serve 


4  INTRODUCTION. 

to  give  some  idea  of  the  characters  and  position,  and  prominent 
traits  or  peculiarities  of  those  who  arc  addressed  or  referred  to 
in  this  correspondence,  or  by  whom  letters  were  written  which 
are  noticed  in  it. 

In  doing  this,  I  trust  it  will  be  found  I  am  not  unmindful  of 
the  obligations  I  am  under  to  truth  and  charity,  as  well  as  to 
friendship — obligations  to  the  living  as  well  as  to  the  dead  ; 
but,  on  the  contrary,  that  I  am  very  sensible  that  literature  is 
never  more  profaned  than  when,  such  claims  being  forgotten  or 
unfelt,  statements  or  sentiments  expressed  in  confidence  to  pri 
vate  persons  that  are  calculated  to  hurt  the  feelings,  to  injure 
the  character,  or  prejudice  the  interests  of  individuals  in  any 
rank  of  life,  are  wantonly,  malevolently,  or  inconsiderately  dis 
closed. 

Such  sentiments  seem  to  have  been  acted  on  by  a  late  emi 
nent  statesman,  and  were  well  expressed  in  a  codicil  to  his  will, 
wherein  he  bequeathed  to  Lord  Mahon  and  E.  Cardwell,  Esq., 
M.P.,  "  all  the  unpublished  papers  and  documents  of  a  public 
or  a  private  nature,  whether  in  print  or  in  manuscript,  of  which 
he  should,  at  the  time  of  his  decease,  be  possessed,"  &c.  "  Con 
sidering  that  the  collection  of  letters  and  papers  referred  to  in 
this  codicil  included  the  whole  of  his  confidential  correspond 
ence  for  a  period  extending  from  the  year  1817  to  the  time  of 
his  decease,  that  during  a  considerable  portion  of  that  period  he 
was  employed  in  the  service  of  the  crown,  and  that  when  not 
so  employed,  he  had  taken  an  active  part  in  parliamentary 
business,  it  was  highly  probable  that  much  of  that  correspond 
ence  would  be  interesting,  and  calculated  to  throw  light  upon 
the  conduct  and  character  of  public  men,  and  upon  the  political 
events  of  the  times."  This  was  done  in  the  full  assurance  that 
his  trustees  would  so  exercise  the  discretion  given  to  them,  that 
no  honorable  confidence  should  be  betrayed,  no  private  feelings 
be  unnecessarily  wounded,  and  no  public  interests  injuriously 
aflfected. 

I  think  it  is  Sir  Egerton  Brydges  who  observes,  "  It  is  not 
possible  to  love  literature  and  to  be  uncharitable  or  unkind  to 
those  who  follow  its  pursuits."  Nothing  would  certainly  bo 


INTRODUCTION.  5 

Jmore  uncharitable  and  unkind  to  literary  people  than  to  publish 
what  they  may  occasionally  say  in  private  of  one  another  in  the 
way  of  raillery,  banter,  or  persiflage,  a  ridicule-aiming  turn,  as 
if  such  badinage  on  paper,  and  escapades  of  drollery,  with  a 
dash  of  sarcasm,  in  conversation,  were  deliberate  expressions 
of  opinion,  and  not  the  smartness  of  the  sayings,  but  the  sharp 
ness  of  the  sting  in  them,  was  to  be  taken  into  account  in  judg 
ing  of  the  motives  of  those  who  gave  utterance  to  things  spoken 
in  levity  and  not  in  malice. 

There  is  no  necessity,  indeed,  with  such  materials  as  I  have 
in  my  hands,  to  encumber  my  pages  with  any  trivialities  of  this 
kind,  or  the  mere  worthless  tittle-tattle  of  epistolary  conversation. 

There  is  an  abundance  of  thought-treasure  in  letters  of  peo 
ple  of  exalted  intellect  in  this  collection  ;  ample  beauties  in 
their  accounts  of  scenery  and  passing  events,  and  in  their  refer 
ences  to  current  literature — the  works  of  art  of  the  day,  the 
chances  and  changes  of  political  life,  the  caprices  of  fashion  of 
the  time,  and  the  vicissitudes  in  the  fortune  of  the  celebrities 
of  all  grades  in  a  great  city — to  furnish  matter  well  worthy  of 
selection  and  preservation  ;  matter  that  would  perish  if  not  thus 
collected,  and  published  in  some  such  form  as  the  present. 

I  have  no  sympathies  with  the  tastes  and  pursuits  of  the 
hangers-on  of  men  of  genius  in  literary  society,  who  crawl  into 
the  confidence  of  people  of  exalted  intellect  to  turn  their  ac 
quaintance  with  it  to  a  profitable  account ;  to  drag  into  notice 
failings  that  may  have  hitherto  escaped  attention,  or  were  only 
suspected  to  exist,  and  to  immortalize  the  errors  of  gifted  indi 
viduals,  whose  credulity  has  been  taken  advantage  of  with  a 
deliberate  purpose  of  speculating  on  those  failings  that  have 
been  diligently  observed  and  drawn  out. 

Censure,  it  is  said,  is  the  tax  which  eminence  of  every  kind 
pays  for  distinction.  The  tendency  of  our  times  especially  is 
to  pander  to  a  morbid  taste,  that  craves  continually  for  signal 
spectacles  of  failings  and  imperfections  of  persons  in  exalted 
stations,  for  exhibitions  of  eminent  people  depreciated  or  de 
famed.  The  readiness  of  men  to  minister  to  the  prevailing 
appetite  for  literary  gossip,  by  violating  the  sanctity  of  private 


(3  INTRODUCTION. 

life,  and  often  even  the  sacred  ties  of  friendship,  is  not  only  to 
be  lamented,  but  the  crime  is  to  be  denounced.  I  have  given 
expression  to  such  opinions  on  those  subjects  at  the  onset  of 
my  career  in  literature,  and  they  have  undergone  no  change 
since  the  publication  of  them,  upward  of  twenty  years  ago.* 

We  naturally  desire  to  know  every  thing  that  concerns  the 
character  or  the  general  conduct  of  those  whose  productions 
have  entertained  or  instructed  us,  and-  we  gratify  a  laudable 
curiosity  when,  for  the  purposes  of  good,  we  inquire  into  their 
history,  and  seek  to  illustrate  their  writings  by  the  general  tenor 
of  their  lives  and  actions.  But  when  biography  is  made  the 
vehicle  of  private  scandal,  the  means  of  promoting  sordid  inter 
ests,  and  looks  into  every  infirmity  of  human  nature  through  a 
magnifying  medium,  which  makes  small  imperfections  seem  to 
be  large,  and  exaggerates  large  ones,  it  ceases  to  be  a  legitimate 
inquiry  into  private  character  or  conduct,  and  no  infamy  is 
greater  than  the  baseness  of  revealing  faults  that  possibly  had 
never  been  discovered  had  no  friendship  been  violated,  no  con 
fidence  abused  by  exaggerated  representations  of  failings  and 
defects,  which  take  away  from  the  reputation  of  the  living,  or 
dim  the  bright  fame  of  the  illustrious  dead. 

"  Consider,"  says  a  learned  German,  "  under  how  many  as 
pects  greatness  is  scrutinized  ;  in  how  many  categories  curiosity 
may  be  traced,  from  the  highest  grade  of  inquisitiveness  down 
to  the  most  impertinent,  concerning  great  men !  How  the 
world  never  wearies  striving  to  represent  to  itself  their  whole 
structure,  conformation  outward  and  inward.  Blame  not  the 
world  for  such  curiosity  about  its  great  ones  :  this  comes  of  the 
world's  old-established  necessity  to  worship.  Blame  it  not ; 
pity  it  rather  with  a  certain  loving  respect.  Nevertheless,  the 
last  stage  of  human  perversion,  it  has  been  said,  is  when  sym 
pathy  corrupts  itself  into  envy,  and  the  indestructible  interest 
we  take  in  men's  doings  has  become  a  joy  over  their  faults  and 
misfortunes  :  this  is  the  last  and  lowest  stage — lower  than  this 
we  can  not  go." 

"  Lower  than  this  we  can  not  go  !"  says  the  German  moralist. 
*  The  Infirmities  of  Genius,  &c.,  in  2  vols.  8vo,  London,  1833. 


INTRODUCTION.  7 

But  suppose  we  do  more  than  exult  in  these  failings  and  mis 
fortunes  ;  that  we  sit  in  judgment  on  them,  and  judge  not  justly, 
but  in  an  unchristian  manner — that  is  to  say,  with  false  weights 
and  measures  of  justice,  having  one  scale  and  standard  of  judi 
cial  opinion  for  the  strong  and  the  unscrupulous  in  evil  doing, 
and  another  for  the  weak,  and  ill-directed,  and  unfortunately 
circumstanced  ;  lower  then  I  say  men  can  go  in  the  downward 
path  of  hypocrisy,  when  those  most  deserving  of  pity  have  more 
to  fear  from  pretenders  to  virtue  than  from  religion  itself.  At 
the  tribunal  of  public  opinion,  there  are  some  failings  for  which 
there  must  be  an  acquittal  on  every  count  of  the  indictment,  or 
a  condemnation  on  all. 

With  respect  to  them,  it  is  not  for  the  world  to  make  any  in 
quiries  into  the  antecedents  of  error ;  whether  they  included 
the  results  of  the  tyranny,  the  profusion,  the  profligacy,  and  the 
embarrassments  of  an  unworthy  father,  the  constant  spectacle 
of  the  griefs  and  wrongs  of  an  injured  mother,  mournful  scenes 
of  domestic  strife,  of  violence  and  outrage  even  at  the  domestic 
hearth,  and  riotous  displays  of  ill-assorted  revelry  and  carousing 
in  the  same  abode,  every-day  morning  gloom  and  wrangling, 
temporary  shifts  to  meet  inordinate  expenses  tending  to  event 
ual  ruin,  meannesses  to  be  witnessed  to  postpone  an  inevitable 
catastrophe,  and  provide  for  the  carousing  of  another  night,  the 
feasting  of  military  friends,  of  condescending  lords  and  squireen 
gentlemen  of  high  rank  and  influence,  justices  of  the  peace  of 
fiery  zeal  in  provincial  politics,  men  of  mark  in  a  country  town, 
ever  ready  to  partake  of  hospitality  and  to  enjoy  society  set 
off  with  such  advantages  as  beauty,  and  mirth,  and  gayety  un 
restricted  can  lend  to  it. 

It  is  not  for  the  world  to  inquire  into  the  circumstance  that 
may  have  led  to  an  unhappy  union  or  its  unfortunate  result  ; 
whether  the  home  was  happy,  the  society  that  frequented  the 
parental  abode  was  safe  and  suitable  for  its  young  inmates  ;  the 
father's  example  was  edifying  in  his  family — the  care  of  his 
children  sufficient  for  their  security — his  love  and  tenderness 
the  crown  of  their  felicity  ;  whether  he  watched  over  his  daugh 
ters  as  an  anxious  father  should  do,  and  treated  them  with 


8  INTRODUCTION. 

kindness  and  affection,  bearing  himself  quietly  and  amiably  to 
ward  their  mother  and  themselves  ;  whether  their  youth  and 
innocence  were  surrounded  with  religious  influences,  and  the 
moral  atmosphere  in  which  they  lived  from  childhood  and  grew 
up  to  womanhood  was  pure  and  wholesome ! 

It  matters  not,  in  the  consideration  of  such  results,  whether 
their  peace  and  happiness  were  made  things  of  sale  and  barter 
by  a  worthless  father !  whether,  in  forcing  them  to  give  their 
hands  where  they  could  not  give  their  hearts,  they  had  been 
sold  for  a  price,  and  purchased  for  a  consideration  in  which 
they  had  no  share  or  interest ! 

The  interests  of  religion,  of  truth,  and  morality,  do  not  require 
that  we  should  throw  aside  all  considerations  of  this  sort,  and 
come  to  a  conclusion  on  a  single  fact,  without  any  reference  to 
the  influences  of  surrounding  circumstances. 

The  grave  has  never  long  closed  over  those  who  have  been 
much  admired  and  highly  extolled  in  their  day ;  who  have 
been  in  society  formidable  competitors  for  distinction,  or  in 
common  opinion  very  fortunate  in  life  and  successful  in  society, 
or  some  particular  pursuit,  before  the  ashes  of  those  dead  ce 
lebrities  are  raked  for  error.  Those  tombs,  indeed,  are  seldom 
ransacked  unsuccessfully  ;  but  those  who  sit  in  judgment  on  the 
failings  of  their  fellow-creatures  are  never  more  likely  to  be  er 
roneous  in  their  opinions  than  when  they  are  most  harsh  and 
uncharitable  in  their  judgments.  Those  persons  who  stand 
highest  in  the  opinion  of  their  fellow-rnen  may  rank  very  low 
in  the  estimation  of  the  Supreme  Judge  of  all ;  and  those  for 
whose  errors  there  is  here  no  mercy,  may  have  fewer  advan 
tages  of  instruction  and  example,  of  position,  and  of  favorable 
circumstances  that  have  been  thrown  away  to  account  for,  than 
the  most  spiritually  proud  of  the  complacent  self-satisfied,  self- 
constituted  judges  and  arraigners  of  their  fellow-creatures. 

It  has  been  said  that  "  a  great  deal  has  been  told  of  Gold 
smith  (in  the  early  and  incidental  notices  of  his  career)  which 
a  friendly  biographer  would  have  concealed,  or  at  least  silently 
passed  over  ;  he  would  have  felt  bound  in  duty  to  respect  the 
character  which  he  took  on  himself  to  delineate  ;  and  while  he 
withheld  nothing  that  rould  have  enabled  the  public  to  form  a 


INTRODUCTION.  i) 

right  estimate  of  the  subject,  he  would  not  have  drawn  aside 
the  curtain  that  concealed  the  privacy  of  domestic  intercourse, 
and  exposed  to  view  the  weakness  and  inconsistency  of  the 
thoughtless  and  confidential  hours  of  a  checkered  and  too  for 
tuitous  life.  The  skillful  painter  can  preserve  the  fidelity  of 
the  resemblance,  while  he  knows  how  to  develop  all  becoming 
embellishments.  In  heightening  what  is  naturally  beautiful,  in 
throwing  a  shade  over  the  less  attractive  parts,  he  presents  us 
with  a  work  that  is  at  once  pleasing  and  instructive.  The  bi 
ographer  must  form  his  narrative  by  selection.  All  things  be 
longing  to  a  subject  are  not  worth  telling  ;  when  the  circle  of 
information  is  once  completed,  it  is  often  the  wisest  part  to  rest 
satisfied  with  the  effect  produced.  Such,  evidently,  was  the 
rule  which  guided  Mason  in  the  very  elegant  and  judicious  ac 
count  which  he  gave  of  his  illustrious  friend  Gray  ;  and  though 
later  inquirers  have  explored  and  unlocked  some  channels  which 
he  did  not  wish  to  open,  they  have  left  the  original  sketch  very 
little  altered,  and  hardly  at  all  improved.  In  this  he  followed, 
though  with  a  more  liberal  allowance  to  rational  curiosity  than 
had  before  been  granted,  the  general  practice  of  all  biographers  ; 
but  Boswell's  Life  of  Johnson  opened  at  once  the  floodgates  of 
public  desire  on  this  subject,  and  set  up  an  example,  too  faith 
fully  imitated,  of  an  indiscriminate  development  of  facts,  grat 
ifying  not  a  very  honorable  or  healthy  curiosity,  with  the  mi 
nutest  details  of  personal  history,  the  eccentricities  of  social  in 
tercourse,  and  all  the  singularities  of  private  life.  The  original 
work,  however  defective  we  may  think  it  in  its  plan,  derived 
a  lustre  from  the  greatness  of  its  subject ;  but  it  has  been  the 
cause  of  overwhelming  literature  with  a  mass  of  the  most  heavy 
and  tiresome  biographies  of  very  moderate  and  obscure  men ; 
with  cumbersome  details  of  a  life  without  interest,  and  charac 
ter  without  talent,  and  a  correspondence  neither  illuminated 
with  spirit  nor  enriched  with  fact.  '  Yous  me  parlez,'  says 
D'Olivet, '  d'un  homme  de  lettres ;  parlez  moi  done  de  ses  talens, 
parlez  moi  de  ses  ouvrages,  mais  laissez  moi  ignorer  ses  foi- 
blesses,  et  a  plus  forte  raison  ses  vices."" 

*  Gent.  Mag.,  March,  1837.     Notice  of  Prior's  Life  of  Goldsmith,  p.  229. 

A  2 


IQ  INTRODUCTION. 

Those  who  are  desirous  to  be  acquainted  with  the  parentage, 
education,  and  incidents  in  the  early  career  of  the  subject  of  this 
memoir,  will  find  the  information  they  require,  gracefully  given, 
and  with  a  tender  feeling  of  affectionate  regard  for  the  memory 
of  the  deceased  lady  of  whom  this  work  treats,  in  a  Memoir 
written  by  her  niece,  Miss  Power.  Extracts  from  that  Memoir, 
by  the  kind  permission  of  Miss  Power,  I  have  been  allowed  to 
avail  myself  of,  and  they  will  be  found  subjoined  to  this  Intro 
duction,  with  such  additional  matter  of  mine  appended  to  them 
as  Lady  Blessington's  communications  to  me,  both  oral  and  writ 
ten,  and  my  own  researches,  enable  me  to  offer. 

The  task  I  have  undertaken  is  to  illustrate  the  literary  life 
of  Lady  Blessington.  Her  acquaintance  with  the  literary  men 
and  artists  of  England,  and  foreign  countries,  dates  from  the 
period  of  her  marriage  with  Lord  Blessington,  and  her  applica 
tion  to  literature,  as  a  pursuit  and  an  employment,  from  the  time 
of  the  first  continental  tour,  on  which  she  set  out  in  1822. 

It  is  not  necessary  for  me  here,  at  least,  to  enter  at  large  into 
her  early  history,  though,  with  one  exception,  I  am  probably 
better  acquainted  with  it  than  any  other  person  living.  The 
whole  of  that  history  was  communicated  to  me  by  Lady  Bless 
ington,  I  believe  with  a  conviction  that  it  might  be  confided  to 
me  with  safety,  and,  perhaps,  with  advantage  at  some  future 
time  to  her  memory. 

EXTRACTS  FROM  A  MEMOIR  OF  THE  COUNTESS  OF  BLESSINGTON 
BY  Miss  POWER,  WITH  ADDITIONAL  MATTER  IN  BRACKETS  IN 
SERTED  BY  THE  AUTHOR  OF  THIS  WORK. 

"  Marguerite  Blessington  was  the  third  child  and  second 
daughter  of  Edmund  Power,  Esq.,  of  Knockbrit,  near  Clonmel, 
in  the  county  of  Tipperary,  and  was  born  on  the  first  of  Sep 
tember,  1790.  Her  father,  who  was  then  a  country  gentleman, 
occupied  with  field-sports  and  agricultural  pursuits,  was  the  only 
son  of  Michael  Power,  Esq.,  of  Curragheen,  and  descended  from 
an  ancient  family  in  the  county  of  Waterford.  Her  mother  also 
belonged  to  a  very  old  Roman  Catholic  family,  a  fact  of  which 
she  was  not  a  little  proud,  and  her  genealogical  tree  was  pre- 


INTRODUCTION.  H 

served  with  a  religious  veneration,  and  studied  till  all  its  branch 
es  were  as  familiar  as  the  names  of  her  children  :  '  My  ancestors, 
the  Desmonds,'  were  her  household  gods,  and  their  deeds  and 
prowess  her  favorite  theme." 

[Mr.  Edmund  Power,  the  father  of  Lady  Blessington,  was  the 
son  of  a  country  gentleman  of  a  respectable  family,  once  in  tol 
erable  circumstances.  His  father,  Mr.  Michael  Power,  left  him 
a  small  property,  eight  miles  distant  from  Dungarvan,  called 
Curragheen. 

He  married,  at  an  early  age,  a  daughter  of  an  ill-fated  gen 
tleman,  Mr.  Edmund  Sheehy,  descended  from  one  of  the  most 
respectable  Roman  Catholic  families  in  the  county  of  Tipperary. 

In  1843  Lady  Blessington  presented  me  with  an  account  of 
the  Sheehy  family,  drawn  up  with  great  care,  and  from  that 
document,  in  the  handwriting  of  Lady  Blessington,  which  is  in 
my  possession,  the  following  notice  is  taken  verbatim. 

PEDIGREE  OF  THE  SHEEHY  FAMILY. 

"  This  ancient  family  possessed  a  large  estate  on  the  banks 
of  the  River  Deel,  in  the  county  of  Limerick,  from  the  time  that 
Maurice,  the  first  Earl  of  Desmond's  daughter,  was  married  to 
Morgan  Sheehy,  who  got  the  said  estate  from  the  earl  as  a  por 
tion  with  his  wife. 

"  From  the  above  Morgan  Sheehy  was  lineally  descended 
Morgan  Sheehy,  of  Ballyallenane.  The  said  Morgan  married 
Ellen  Butler,  daughter  of  Pierce,  Earl  of  Ormond,  and  the  widow 
of  Connor  O'Brien,  Earl  of  Thomond,  and  had  issue,  Morgan 
Sheehy.  The  said  Morgan  Sheehy  married  Catherine  Mac  Car- 
thy,  daughter  to  Donnough  Mac  Carthy-More,  of  Dunhallow,  in 
the  county  of  Cork  ;  and  had  issue,  Morgan  Sheehy,  who  mar 
ried  Joan,  daughter  of  David,  Earl  of  Barrymore,  in  the  county 
of  Cork,  and  Lady  Alice  Boyle,  eldest  daughter  of  Richard,  Earl 
of  Cork  ;  and  had  issue,  Morgan  Sheehy,  and  Meanus,  from 
whom  the  Sheehys  of  Imokilly,  and  county  of  Waterford,  are 
descended.  The  said  Morgan  married  Catherine,  the  eldest  of 
the  five  daughters  of  Teige  O'Brien,  of  Ballycorrig,  and  of  Eliza 
beth,  daughter  of  Maurice,  Earl  of  Desmond.  He  had  issue, 


12  INTRODUCTION. 

three  sons,  John,  Edmund,  and  Roger,  and  five  daughters.  Of 
the  daughters,  Joan  married  Thomas  Lord  Southwell ;  Ellen 
married  Philip  Magrath,  of  Sleady  Castle,  in  the  county  of  Wa- 
terford,  Esq. ;  Mary  married  Eustace,  son  of  Sir  John  Brown, 
of  Cammus,  Bart. ;  and  Anne  married  Colonel  Gilbrern,  of  Kil- 
mallock. 

"Of  the  five  daughters  of  the  above  Teige  O'Brien,  Catherine 
married  the  above  Morgan  Sheehy,  Esq.  ;  Honoria  married  Sir 
John  FitzGerald,  of  Cloyne,  Bart.  ;  Maudiu  married  O'Shaugh- 
nessy,  of  Gort ;  Julia  married  Mac  Namara,  of  Cratala  ;  and 
Mary  married  Sir  Thurlough  Mac  Mahon,  of  Cleana,  in  the  coun 
ty  of  Clare,  Bart. 

"  Of  the  three  sons  of  Morgan  Sheehy,  Esq.,  and  Catherine 
O'Brien,  John,  the  eldest,  married  Mary,  daughter  of  James  Ca 
sey,  of  Rathcannon,  in  the  county  of  Limerick,  Esq.  (It  was  in 
this  John's  time,  abotit  1650,  that  Cromwell  dispossessed  the 
family  of  their  estates.)  The  said  John  had  issue  John  Sheehy, 
who  married  Catherine,  daughter  of  Donough  O'Brien,  of  Dun- 
gillane,  Esq.  He  had  issue  Charles  Sheehy,  who  married  Cath 
erine  Ryan,  daughter  of  Matthew  Ryan,  Esq.,  and  of  Catherine 
FitzGerald,  daughter  of  Sir  John  FitzGerald,  of  Clonglish,  Bart., 
and  had  issue  John  and  William  Sheehy,  Esqs.,  of  Spittal.  The 
said  John  married  Honoria  0 'Sullivan,  maternal  grand-daughter 
to  McBrien,  of  Sally  Sheehan,  and  had  issue  one  son  and  two 
daughters,  viz.,  William  Sheehy,  Esq.,  of  Bawnfowne,  county 
Waterford,  and  Eleanor  and  Ellen.  (Here  there  is  an  omission 
of  any  mention  of  William  Sheehy's  marriage.)  The  said  Ele 
anor  married  William  Cranick,  of  Galbally,  Esq.,  and  had  issue 
Ellen,  who  married  Timothy  Gluinlan,  Esq.,  of  Tipperary.  Ed 
mund  Sheehy,*  Esq.,  son  of  the  above-named  Wrilliam  Sheehy, 
and  brother  to  Eleanor  and  Ellen,  married  Margaret  0 'Sullivan, 
of  Ballylcgate,  and  had  issue  Robert  and  James  Sheehy,  and 
two  daughters,  Ellen  and  Mary.  The  said  Ellen  married  Ed 
mund  Power,  Esq.,  of  Curragheen,  in  the  county  of  Waterford  ; 
and  had  issue,  Anne,  who  died  in  her  tenth  year  ;  Michael,  who 

*  Executed  in  176G  for  alleged  rebellion.  Edmund  Sheehy  was  called  Buck 
Sheehy,  and  lived  at  Bawnfowne,  county  Waterford. 


INTRODUCTION.  13 

died  a  Captain  in  the  2d  West  India  Regiment  at  St.  Lucia,  in 
the  West  Indies  ;  Marguerite,  who  married,  firstly,  Captain  St. 
Leger  Farmer,  of  the  47th  Regiment,  who  died  in  1817,  and 
secondly,  the  Earl  of  Blessington  ;  Ellen,  who  married  John 
Home  Purves,  Esq.,  son  of  Sir  Alexander  Purves,  Bart.,  of  Purves 
Hall,  in  the  county  of  Berwick,  and  secondly,  to  Viscount  Can 
terbury  ;  Robert,  who  entered  the  army  young,  and  left  it  a  Cap 
tain  in  the  30th  Regiment  of  Foot  in  1823.  The  said  Robert 
married  Agnes  Brooke,  daughter  of  Thomas  Brooke,  Esq.,  first 
member  of  council  at  St.  Helena  ;  and  Mary  Anne,  married,  in 
1831,  to  Count  de  St.  Marsault."* 

In  the  Appendix  will  be  found  a  detailed  account  of  the  per 
secutions  of  several  members  of  the  Sheehy  family  in  1765  and 
1766.  It  commenced  with  the  prosecution,  conviction,  and  ex 
ecution  of  a  priest,  Father  Nicholas  Sheehy,  who  was  a  cousin 
of  Edmund  Sheehy,  the  grandfather  of  Lady  Blessington. 

If  ever  affrighted  justice  might  be  said  to  "  swing  from  her 
moorings,"  and,  passion-driven,  to  be  left  at  the  mercy  of  the 
winds  and  waves  of  party  violence,  it  surely  was  in  these  iniqui 
tous  proceedings  ;  and  for  innocence  it  might  indeed  be  affirmed 
that  there  was  no  anchorage  in  the  breasts  of  a  jury,  in  those 
times,  packed  as  it  was  for  the  purpose  of  conviction,  or  in  the 
sanctuary  of  a  court,  surrounded  by  a  military  force  to  overawe 
its  functionaries,  and  to  intimidate  the  advocates  and  witnesses 
of  the  accused.  The  unfortunate  Father  Sheehy  was  found 
guilty  of  the  murder  of  a  man  named  John  Bridge,  and  sen 
tenced  to  be  hanged,  drawn,  and  quartered,  and  the  sentence 
was  carried  into  execution  at  Clonmel.  The  head  of  the  judi 
cially  murdered  priest  was  stuck  on  a  spike,  and  placed  over  the 
porch  of  the  old  jail,  and  there  it  was  allowed  to  remain  for  up 
ward  of  twenty  years,  till  at  length  his  sister,  Mrs.  Burke,  was 
allowed  to  remove  it. 

The  next  victim  of  the  Sheehy  family  was  the  cousin  of  the 
priest,  Edmund  Sheehy,  the  grandfather  of  Lady  Blessington ; 
and  he,  equally  innocent,  and  far  less  obnoxious  to  suspicion  of 

*  Here  ends  the  genealogical  account  of  the  Sheehy  family,  given  me  by  Lady 
Blessington.— R.  R.  M. 


14  INTRODUCTION. 

any  misprision  of  agrarian  outrage,  was  put  to  death  a  little  later 
than  his  relative. 

Edmund  Sheehy,  the  maternal  grandfather  of  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  who  perished  on  the  scaffold  in  May,  1766,  arid  was  buried 
in  Kilronan  church-yard,  left  four  children,  Robert,  James,  Ellen, 
and  Mary.  One  of  his  sisters  had  married  a  Dr.  Gleeson,  of 
Cavehill,  near  Dungarvan.  His  eldest  son,  Robert,  was  mur 
dered  on  his  own  property  in  1831,  at  Bawnfowne,  in  the  parish 
of  Kilronan  ;  his  eldest  daughter,  Ellen,  married  Edmund  Power, 
Esq.,  of  Curragheen,  in  the  county  of  Waterford.  This  lady  was 
not  in  anywise  remarkable  for  her  intellectual  qualities.  She 
was  a  plain,  simple  woman,  of  no  pretensions  to  elegance  of 
manners  or  remarkable  cleverness.  She  died  in  Dublin  up 
ward  of  twenty  years  ago.  The  second  son,  James,  went  to 
America  at  an  early  age,  and  was  never  afterward  heard  of. 
His  youngest  daughter,  Mary,  married  a  Mr.  John  Colins,  the 
proprietor  of  a  newspaper  in  Clonmel. 

Robert  Sheehy,  who  was  murdered  in  1831,  left  a  son  (Mr. 
John  Sheehy,  first  cousin  of  Lady  Blessington),  whom.  I  knew 
about  two  years  ago  in  Clonmel,  filling  the  situation  of  Master 
of  the  Auxiliary  AVorkhouse  (named  Keyward  Workhouse). 
Shortly  after  his  marriage,  Mr.  Power  removed  to  Knockbrit,  a 
place  about  two  miles  from  Cashel,  and  there,  where  he  resided 
for  many  years,  all  his  children  were  born.] 

"  Beauty,  the  heritage  of  the  family,  was,  in  her  early  youth, 
denied  to  Marguerite  :  her  eldest  brother  and  sister,  Michael 
and  Anne,  as  well  as  Ellen  and  Robert,  were  singularly  hand 
some  and  healthy  children,  while  she,  pale,  weakly,  and  ailing, 
was  for  years  regarded  as  little  likely  ever  to  grow  to  woman 
hood  ;  the  precocity  of  her  intellect,  the  keenness  of  her  percep 
tions,  and  her  extreme  sensitiveness,  all  of  which  are  so  often 
regarded,  more  especially  among  the  Irish,  as  the  precursive 
symptoms  of  an  early  death,  confirmed  this  belief,  and  the  poor, 
pale,  reflective  child  was  long  looked  upon  as  doomed  to  a  pre 
mature  grave. 

"  The  atmosphere  in  which  she  lived  was  but  little  congenial 
to  such  a  nature.  Her  father,  a  man  of  violent  temper,  and  lit-/ 


INTRODUCTION.  15 

tie  given  to  study  the  characters  of  his  children,  intimidated  and 
shook  the  delicate  nerves  of  the  sickly  child,  though  there  were 
moments — rare  ones,  it  is  true — when  the  sparkles  of  her  early 
genius  for  an  instant  dazzled  and  gratified  him.  Her  mother, 
though  she  failed  not  to  bestow  the  tenderest  maternal  care  on 
the  health  of  the  little  sufferer,  was  not  capable  of  appreciating 
her  fine  and  subtile  qualities,  and  her  brothers  and  sisters,  fond 
as  they  were  of  her,  were  not,  in  their  high  health  and  boister 
ous  gayety,  companions  suited  to  such  a  child. 

"  During  her  earliest  years,  therefore,  she  lived  in  a  world  of 
dreams  and  fancies,  sufficient,  at  first,  to  satisfy  her  infant  mind, 
but  soon  all  too  vague  and  incomplete  to  fill  the  blank  within. 
Perpetual  speculations,  restless  inquiries,  to  which  she  could 
find  no  satisfactory  solutions,  perpetually  occupied  her  dawning 
intellect ;  and,  until  at  last  accident  happily  threw  in  her  way 
an  intelligence  capable  of  comprehending  the  workings  of  the 
infant  spirit,  it  was  at  once  a  torment  and  a  blessing  to  her. 

"  This  person,  a  Miss  Anne  Dwyer,  a  friend  of  her  mother's, 
was  herself  possessed  of  talents  and  information  far  above  the 
standard  of  other  country  women  in  those  days. 

"  Miss  Dwyer  was  surprised,  and  soon  interested  by  the  re 
flective  air  and  strange  questions  which  had  excited  only  ridicule 
among  those  who  had  hitherto  been  around  the  child.  The  de 
velopment  of  this  fine  organization,  and  the  aiding  it  to  compre 
hend  what  had  so  long  been  a  sealed  book,  formed  a  study 
fraught  with  pleasure  to  her  ;  and  while  Marguerite  was  yet  an 
infant,  this  worthy  woman  began  to  undertake  the  task  of  her 
education. 

"  At  a  very  early  age,  the  powers  of  her  imagination  had  al 
ready  begun  to  develop  themselves.  She  would  entertain  her 
brothers  and  sisters  for  hours  with  tales  invented  as  she  pro 
ceeded  ;  and  at  last,  so  remarkable  did  this  talent  become,  that 
her  parents,  astonished  at  the  interest  and  coherence  of  her  nar 
rations,  constantly  called  upon  her  to  improviser  for  the  enter 
tainment  of  their  friends  and  neighbors,  a  task  always  easy  to 
her  fertile  brain  ;  and,  in  a  short  time,  the  little  neglected  child 
became  the  wonder  of  the  neighborhood. 


16  INTRODUCTION. 

"  The  increasing  ages  of  their  children,  and  the  difficulty  of 
obtaining  the  means  of  instruction  for  them  at  Knockbrit,  in 
duced  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Power  to  put  into  practice  a  design  long 
formed,  of  removing  to  Clonmel,  the  county  town  of  Tipperary. 
This  change,  which  was  looked  upon  by  her  brothers  and  sisters 
as  a  source  of  infinite  satisfaction,  was  to  Marguerite  one  of  al 
most  unmingled  regret.  To  leave  the  place  of  her  birth,  the 
scenes  which  her  passionate  love  of  nature  had  so  deeply  en 
deared  to  her,  was  one  of  the  severest  trials  she  had  ever  expe 
rienced,  and  was  looked  forward  to  with  sorrow  and  dread.  At 
last,  the  day  arrived  when  she  was  to  leave  the  home  of  her 
childhood,  and  sad  and  lonely  she  stole  forth  to  the  garden  to 
bid  farewell  to  each  beloved  spot. 

"  Gathering  a  handful  of  flowers  to  keep  in  memory  of  the 
place,  she,  fearing  the  ridicule  of  the  other  members  of  the  fam 
ily,  carefully  concealed  them  in  her  pocket ;  and  with  many 
tears  and  bitter  regrets,  was  at  last  driven  from  Knockbrit, 
where,  as  it  seemed  to  her,  she  left  all  of  happiness  behind  her." 

[The  removal  of  the  Powers  from  Knockbrit  to  Clonmel  must 
have  been  about  the  year  1796  or  1797.  Their  house  in  Clon 
mel,  which  I  lately  visited,  is  a  small,  incommodious  dwelling, 
near  the  bridge  leading  to  the  adjoining  county  of  Waterford,  at 
a  place  called  Suir  Island.] 

"  At  Clonmel,  the  improving  health  of  Marguerite,  and  the  so 
ciety  of  children  of  her  own  age,  gradually  produced  their  effect 
on  her  spirits  ;  and  though  her  love  of  reading  and  study  con 
tinued  rather  to  increase  than  abate,  she  became  more  able  to 
join  in  the  amusements  of  her  brothers  and  sisters,  who,  delight 
ed  at  the  change,  gladly  welcomed  her  into  their  society,  and 
manifested  the  affection  which  hitherto  they  had  little  opportu 
nity  of  displaying. 

"  But  soon  it  seemed  as  if  the  violent  grief  she  had  experi 
enced  at  quitting  the  place  of  her  birth,  was  prophetic  of  the 
misfortunes  which,  one  by  one,  followed  the  removal  to  Clonmel. 

"  Her  father,  with  recklessness  too  prevalent  in  his  day,  com 
menced  a  mode  of  living,  and  indulged  in  pleasures  and  hospi 
tality,  which  his  means,  though  amply  sufficient  to  supply  nec 
essary  expenses,  were  wholly  inadequate  to  support. 


INTRODUCTION. 


17 


"In  an  evil  hour  he  was  tempted  by  the  representations  of  a 
certain  nobleman,  more  anxious  to  promote  his  own  interest  and 
influence  than  scrupulous  as  to  the  consequences  which  might 
result  to  others,  to  accept  the  situation  of  magistrate  for  the  coun 
ties  of  Tipperary  and  Waterford,  a  position  from  which  no  pecu 
niary  advantage  was  to  be  obtained,  and  which,  in  those  times 
of  trouble  and  terror,  was  fraught  with  difficulty  and  danger. 

"  Led  on  by  promises  of  a  lucrative  situation  and  hints  at  the 
probability  of  a  baronetcy,  as  well  as  by  his  own  fearless  and 
reckless  disposition,  Mr.  Power  performed  the  painful  and  oner 
ous  duties  of  his  situation  with  a  zeal  which  procured  for  him 
the  animosity  of  the  friends  and  relatives  in  the  remotest  degree, 
of  those  whom  it  was  his  fate,  in  the  discharge  of  the  duties  of 
his  office,  to  bring  to  punishment,  and  entirely  precluded  his 
giving  the  slightest  attention  to  the  business  which  had  bid  so 
fair  to  re-establish  the  fortunes  of  his  family.  His  nights  were 
spent  in  hunting  down,  with  troops  of  dragoons,  the  unfortunate 
and  misguided  rebels,  whose  connections,  in  turn,  burned  his 
store-houses,  destroyed  his  plantations,  and  killed  his  cattle  ; 
while  for  all  of  these  losses  he  was  repaid  by  the  most  flatter 
ing  encomiums  from  his  noble  friend,  letters  of  thanks  from  the 
Secretary  for  Ireland,  acknowledging  his  services,  and  by  the 
most  gratifying  and  marked  attention  at  the  Castle  when  he 
visited  Dublin. 

"  He  was  too  proud  to  remind  the  nobleman  he  believed  to  be 
his  friend  of  his  often-repeated  promises,  while  the  latter,  only 
too  glad  not  to  be  pressed  for  their  performance,  continued  to 
lead  on  his  dupe,  and,  instead  of  the  valuable  official  appoint 
ment,  &c.,  &c.,  proposed  to  him  to  set  up  a  newspaper,  iri  which 
his  lordship  was  to  procure  for  him  the  publication  of  the  gov 
ernment  proclamations,  a  source  of  no  inconsiderable  profit. 
This  journal  was,  of  course,. to  advocate  only  his  lordship's  po 
litical  views,  so  that,  by  way  of  serving  his  friend,  he  found  a 
cheap  and  easy  method  of  furthering  his  own  plans.  The  result 
may  be  guessed  ;  Mr.  Power,  utterly  uiisuited  in  every  respect 
to  the  conduct  of  such  an  undertaking,  only  became  more  and 
more  deeply  involved,  and  year  by  year  added  to  his  difficulties." 


18  INTRODUCTION. 

[Alderman  H ,  of  Clonmel,  a  schoolfellow  of  one  of  the 

sons  of  Mr.  Power,  and  well  acquainted  with  the  latter,  informs 
me,  "  When  Mr.  Power  came  to  Clonmel,  he  was  about  thirty 
years  of  age  ;  he  was  a  good-looking  man,  of  gentlemanly  ap 
pearance  and  manners.  He  was  then  married.  His  first  v/ife 
was  a  Miss  Sheehy,  of  a  highly  respectable  family.  He  en 
gaged  in  the  business  of  a  corn-merchant  and  butter  buyer. 
Subsequently  he  became  proprietor  of  the  Clonmel  Gazette,  or 
Munster  Mercury.  The  editor  of  it  was  the  well-known  Ber 
nard  Wright.  The  politics  of  the  paper  were  liberal — Catholic 
politics — Power  was  then  a  Catholic,  though  not  a  very  strict  or 
pbservant  one.*  The  paper  advocated  the  electioneering  inter 
ests  of  the  Landaff  or  Matthew  family. 

"  Bernard  Wr right,"  continues  Alderman  H ,  "  the  editor 

of  the  Clonmel  Gazette,  was  my  guardian.  He  was  a  man  of 
wit,  a  poet,  and  an  accomplished  gentleman.  He  had  been  ed 
ucated  for  the  Church  in  France.  He  was  the  only  member  of 
his  family  who  was  a  member  of  the  Roman  Catholic  religion. 
He  had  to  fly  from  Paris  at  the  time  of  the  French  Revolution. 
In  the  Irish  rebellion  of  1798,  he  was  one  of  the  victims  of  the 
savagery  of  Sir  Thomas  Judkin  Fitzgerald,  and  the  only  one  of 
those  victims  who  made  that  ferocious  man  pay  for  his  inhu 
manity  after  1798." 

In  January,  1844,  when  residing  in  Portugal,  Mr.  Jeremiah 
Meagher,  Vice-consul  at  Lisbon,  a  native  of  Clonmel,  and  a 
clerk  of  Lady  Blessington's  father  at  the  time  the  latter  edited 
the  Clonmel  Gazette  in  that  town,  informed  rne  of  many  par 
ticulars  relating  to  his  connection  with  Mr.  Power,  and  his  great 
intimacy  with  Lady  Blessington  and  her  sister,  which  account 
Lady  Blessington  subsequently  confirmed  when  I  visited  her  in 
London,  and  spoke  of  my  friend,  the  vice-consul,  in  the  warmest 
terms  of  affectionate  regard. 

*  Power's  family  \verc  Roman  Catholics,  but  it  seems  that  he  had  conformed 
to  the  Protestant  religion,  and  had  stipulated  that  his  sons  should  be  brought  up 
in  that  faith,  and  had  consented  that  his  daughters  should  be  of  the  religion  of 
their  mother,  who  was  a  Catholic.  Mr.  Power,  however,  when  he  had  nothing 
more  to  expect  from  his  great  patrons,  came  back  to  the  old  church,  lived  for  many 
years  in  it,  and  died,  it  may  be  said  with  perfect  truth,  "  a  very  unworthy  member 


INTRODUCTION.  19 

Mr.  Meagher,  in  reference  to  the  torture  inflicted  on  Bernard 
Wright  in  1798,  said,  "He  was  flogged  severely  for  having  a 
letter  in  the  French  language  in  his  pocket,  which  had  been 
addressed  to  him  by  one  of  his  friends,  he  being  a  teacher  of 
the  French  language.  Poor  Wright  used  to  furnish  articles  of 
a  literary  kind  for  the  paper,  and  assist  in  the  management,  but 
he  had  no  political  opinions  of  any  kind.  Of  that  fact  he,  Mr. 
Meagher,  was  quite  certain.  In  1804,  the  paper  was  prosecuted 
for  a  libel  on  Colonel  Bagwell,  written  at  the  instigation  of  Mr. 
Watson,  in  the  interest  of  Lord  Donoughmore.  There  was  a 
verdict  against  Power,  and  he  was  left  to  pay  the  costs." 

The  newspaper  concern  was  a  ruinous  affair  to  Mr.  Power. 
Mr.  Meagher  says,  "  Of  all  the  children  of  Mr.  Power,  Marguerite 
was  his  favorite.  He  never  knew  a  person  naturally  better  dis 
posed,  or  of  such  goodness  of  heart."  He  knew  her  subsequently 
to  her  marriage  in  1804,  when  living  at  Cahir. 

Lady  Blessington  informed  me  that  "  her  father's  pursuits  in 
carrying  out  the  views  of  his  patron,  Lord  Donoughmore,  caused 
him  to  neglect  his  business.  His  affairs  became  deranged.  To 
retrieve  them,  he  entered  into  partnership,  in  a  general  mercan 
tile  way,  with  Messrs.  Hunt  and  O'Brien,  of  Waterford.  He 
expended  a  great  deal  of  money  there  in  building  stores  and 
warehouses.  Those  buildings,  however,  were  burned  by  the 
people  (it  was  imagined),  in  revenge  for  the  cruelties  he  had 
practiced  on  them. 

"  His  violence,"  continued  her  ladyship,  "  which  had  formerly 
been  of  a  political  kind  only,  now  became  a  sort  of  constitution 
al  irascibility,  his  temper  more  and  more  irritable,  his  habits 
irregular  and  disorderly — he  became  a  terror  to  his  wife  and 
children.  He  treated  his  wife  with  brutality,  he  upbraided  her 
frequently  with  her  father's  fate,  and  would  often  say  to  her, 
'  What  more  could  be  expected  from  the  daughter  of  a  convicted  rebel?' 

"  His  mercantile  career  was  unfortunate  ;  his  partners  got  rid 
of  him  after  many  fruitless  remonstrances.  He  had  overdrawn 
the  capital  he  had  put  into  the  house  by  several  thousand  pounds. 
His  next  speculation  was  a  newspaper,  called  the  Clonmel  Mer 
cury,  which  was  set  up  by  him  at  the  instance  of  Lord  Donough- 


oo  INTRODUCTION. 

more,  for  the  support  of  his  lordship's  electioneering  interests  in 
the  county,  and  of  his  political  opinions.  Bernard  Wright,  the 
person  who  was  flogged  in  1798  by  Sir  John  Judkin  Fitzgerald 
for  having  a  French  letter  in  his  pocket,  was  for  some  time  the 
manager  and  editor  of  that  paper.  The  paper  was  at  length 
prosecuted  for  a  libel  written  by  Lord  Donoughmore  ;  but  his 
lordship  left  her  father  to  bear  the  brunt  of  the  action,  and  to 
pay  the  expense  of  the  suit  and  the  damages.  The  paper  then 
went  to  ruin  ;  Mr.  Power  for  some  years  previously  had  given 
himself  up  to  dissipation,  and  his  ailairs  had  become  involved 
in  difficulties  even  previously  to  his  settling  up  the  paper,  so 
much  so,  that  she  (Lady  Blessington)  and  her  sister  Ellen,  while 
at  school,  had  often  felt  the  humiliation  of  being  debarred  from 
learning  certain  kinds  of  work,  tambour  embroidery,  &c.,  on  ac 
count  of  the  irregularity  of  the  payment  of  their  school  charges." 

Mr.  Power  was  a  fair,  though  not,  perhaps,  a  very  favorable 
specimen  of  the  Irish  country  gentleman  of  some  sixty  years  ago, 
fond  of  dogs,  horses,  wine,  and  revelry,  and  very  improvident 
and  inattentive  to  all  affairs  of  business.  He  was  a  fine-looking 
man,  of  an  imposing  appearance,  showy,  and  of  an  aristocratic 
air,  very  demonstrative  of  frills  and  ruffles,  much  given  to  white 
cravats,  and  the  wearing  of  leather  breeches  and  top  boots. 
He  was  known  to  the  Tipperary  bloods  as  "  a  buck,"  as  "  shiver 
the  frills,"  "  Beau  Power,"  and  other  appellations  complimenta 
ry  to  his  sporting  character,  rollicking  disposition,  and  very  re 
markable  costume. 

When  the  times  were  out  of  joint  in  1798,  and  for  some  years 
succeeding  that  disastrous  epoch,  Mr.  Power,  having  thrown  him 
self  into  local  politics,  and  becoming  deeply  engaged  in  public 
affairs,  acquired  in  a  short  time  the  character  of  a  terrorist  in 
the  district  that  was  the  sphere  of  his  magisterial  duties.  The 
hunting  of  suspected  rebels,  of  persons  thought  to  be  disloyal  in 
the  late  rebellion,  even  so  long  as  four  and  five  years  after  its 
complete  suppression,  became  a  favorite  pursuit  of  Mr.  Power. 
At  length  the  energy  of  his  loyalty  went  beyond  the  law.  In 
scouring  the  country  in  pursuit  of  suspected  rebels,  he  took  it 
into  his  head  to  arrest  a  young  man  whom  he  met  on  the  road. 


INTRODUCTION.  ^1 

The  unfortunate  man  fled  at  the  approach  of  the  armed  gentle 
man  with  his  pistol  leveled  at  him.  Mr.  Power  shot  the  flying 
peasant,  seized  the  wounded  man,  set  him  on  a  horse,  and  car 
ried  his  dying  prisoner  first  to  his  own  house,  and  from  thence 
to  the  jail  at  Clonmel.  The  unfortunate  man  died.  Mr.  Power 
was  tried  for  the  murder,  and  was  acquitted. 

The  particulars  of  this  frightful  affair  were  given  me  in 
1843  by  Lady  Blessington,  and  more  recently  by  other  parties 
having  a  very  intimate  knowledge  of  the  circumstances  refer 
red  to. 

The  account  given  me  by  Lady  Blessington  in  some  respects 
differs  from  the  others  ;  but,  though  it  contradicts  them  in  some 
minor  details,  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  her  ladyship's  account 
is  evidently  derived  from  that  put  forward  by  her  father  in  his 
defense. 

Though  at  the  risk  of  being  somewhat  prolix,  it  seems  best, 
in  a  matter  of  this  kind,  to  give  the  several  statements  which 
seem  deserving  of  attention  separately. 

Lady  Blessington,  in  speaking  to  me  of  this  catastrophe,  said, 

"  On  one  occasion  (when  her  father  went  out  scouring  the 
country  for  suspected  rebels)  he  took  his  son  Michael  out  with 
him.  After  riding  along  the  road  for  some  time,  he  informed 
the  young  man  he  was  going  to  apprehend  a  very  desperate  fel 
low  in  the  neighborhood,  whom  none  of  the  constables  dare  lay 
hands  on.  The  son,  whose  principles  were  altogether  opposed 
to  the  father's,  was  reluctant  to  go  on  this  mission,  but  dared 
not  refuse.  The  father,  approaching  the  cabin  of  the  suspected 
peasant,  saw  a  person  at  work  in  an  adjoining  field.  Mr.  Power 
galloped  into  the  field,  attended  by  his  son  and  a  servant,  and 
leveling  a  pistol  at  the  man's  head,  called  on  him  to  surrender 
(but  exhibited  no  warrant  for  his  apprehension).  The  man  flung 
a  stone  at  his  assailant,  whereupon  Mr.  Power,  taking  deliber 
ate  aim,  mortally  wounded  the  man  in  the  body.  This  was  not 
sufficient ;  he  placed  the  wounded  man  on  horseback  behind  his 
servant,  and  thus  conveyed  him  to  town,  and  in  the  first  instance 
to  his  own  place  of  abode,  and  then  to  jail." 

Lady  Blessington  added,  that  "  she  remembered  with  horror 


22  INTRODUCTION. 

the  sight  of  the  wounded  man  mounted  behind  the  servant,  as 
the  party  entered  the  stable-yard  of  her  father's  house  ;  pale 
and  ghastly,  his  head  sunk  on  his  breast,  his  strength  apparently 
exhausted,  his  clothes  steeped  with  blood,  when  in  this  condi 
tion  he  was  brought  into  the  court-yard  bound  to  the  servant. 
The  horror  of  this  deed  never  left  the  mind  of  Michael  Power ; 
it  haunted  him  during  his  short  career.  He  died  at  an  early 
age  in  St.  Lucia,  one  of  the  most  noble-minded  and  tender 
hearted  of  human  beings.  Such  was  the  influence  of  his  char 
acter  over  the  unfortunate  wounded  man,  that  when  he  was 
dying,  he  besought  his  family  to  take  no  steps  against  Mr.  Pow 
er,  and  this  was  solely  in  consideration  of  the  humanity  exhib 
ited  by  the  son.  The  man  died,  and  Bagwell,  from  animosity 
to  Power,  on  account  of  his  alliance  with  the  Donoughmore  in 
terest,  persuaded  the  family  to  prosecute  Power.  Proceedings 
were  commenced  against  him,  but  the  grand  jury  threw  out  the 
bill.  A  second  bill  was  sent  up  subsequently  and  found,  but 
Power  fled  to  England,  and  returned  in  time  to  take  his  trial  for 
murder.  He  was  acquitted  ;  but  the  judge,  even  in  those  un 
happy  times  (it  was  about  1803),  thought  this  murder  going  a 
little  too  far  with  the  system  of  terror  ;  he  reprobated  the  con 
duct  of  Power,  and  had  his  name  expunged  from  the  magistracy." 

Alderman  H states  that  Mr.  Power,  in  and  after  the  re 
bellion  of  1798,  was  what  was  called  "  an  active  magistrate, 
and  when  patrolling  the  country,  he  shot  a  young  man  named 
Lonergan,  the  son  of  a  widow,  a  peasant.  This  poor  fellow 
Power  called  a  rebel,  and  had  his  dead  body  brought  into  town 
and  hung  out  of  the  old  court-house,  or,  as  the  place  was  called 
long  subsequently,  the  main  guard." 

This  gentleman  adds,  "  There  the  body  was  first  seen  by  his 
mother  after  the  boy's  death,  and  after  she  had  gazed  on  the 
body  for  a  few  instants,  she  knelt  down  and  cursed  her  son's 
murderer." 

A  lady,  upon  whose  accuracy  every  dependence  can  be  plared, 
Mrs.  Ryan,  a  native  of  Tipperary  (and  nearly  connected  by  mar 
riage  with  Mr.  John  O'Connell),  who  knew  Lady  Blessington 
when  a  child,  her  father  and  Mr.  Power  being  near  neighbors, 


INTRODUCTION.  23 

states  that  Mr.  Power,  in  the  stormy  period  of  1798  and  some 
succeeding  years,  sought  to  obtain  local  influence  and  distinction 
by  hunting  down  the  peasantry  at  the  head  of  a  troop  of  mount 
ed  yeomanry.  He  succeeded  in  being  made  a  magistrate.  He 
was  in  the  habit  of  scouring  the  country  for  suspected  parties 
around  his  residence. 

At  a  period  when  martial  law  was  in  full  force  throughout 
the  country,  Mr.  Power,  in  one  of  his  scouring  expeditions  in  his 
district,  met  a  young  lad  going  along  the  road,  with  a  pitchfork 
in  his  hand,  the  son  of  an  old  widow  woman  living  on  the  prop 
erty  of  Mr.  Ryan's  father.  Mr.  Power,  on  seeing  the  lad,  at 
once  decided  he  was  a  rebel,  and  his  pitchfork  was  an  evidence 
of  treasonable  intentions.  The  sight  of  the  well-known  terror 
ist  and  his  troopers  was  at  once  sufficient  to  put  the  lad  to  night 
— he  ran  into  a  field.  Mr.  Power  fired  at  him  as  he  was  run 
ning  ;  the  shot  took  effect,  and  death  shortly  afterward  was  the 
result.  Mrs.  Ryan  states,  the  widow  and  her  son  (her  only 
child)  were  harmless,  honest,  well-disposed  people,  much  liked 
in  the  neighborhood.  The  lad,  having  broken  the  prong  of  his 
fork,  was  proceeding  to  the  smith's  forge  in  the  evening  of  the 
day  referred  to  to  get  it  mended,  when  he  had  the  misfortune 
to  fall  in  with  Mr.  Power  at  an  angle  of  a  road,  and  was  mur 
dered  by  him.  Before  the  poor  lad  had  left  the  cabin,  his 
mother  subsequently  stated  that  she  had  said  to  him,  "  Johnny, 
dear,  it's  too  late  to  go  :  maybe  Mr.  Power  and  the  yeomen  are 
out."  The  lad  said,  "  Never  mind,  mother,  I'll  only  leave  the 
fork  and  come  back  immediately  ;  you  know  I  can't  do  without 
it  to-morrow.  The  widow  watched  for  her  son  all  night  long 
in  vain.  He  returned  to  her  no  more.  She  made  fruitless  in 
quiries  at  the  smith's.  She  went  into  Clonmel  in  the  morning, 
and  there  she  learned  her  son  had  been  shot  by  Mr.  Power. 

The  usual  brutality  of  exposing  the  mutilated  body  of  a  pre 
sumed  rebel  in  front  of  the  jail  was  gone  through  in  this  case. 
The  widow  recognized  the  remains  of  her  only  child.  Her 
piercing  shrieks  attracted  attention.  They  soon  ceased ;  some 
of  the  bystanders  carried  away  the  old  creature  senseless  and 
speechless.  She  had  no  one  now  of  kith  or  kin  to  help  her,  no 


24  INTRODUCTION. 

one  at  home  to  mind  her,  and  she  was  unable  to  rnind  herself. 
Mrs.  Ryan's  father,  a  humane,  good-hearted  man,  took  pity  on. 
the  poor  old  forlorn  creature.  He  had  her  brought  to  his  own. 
home,  and  she  remained  an  inmate  of  it  to  the  day  of  her  death. 
The  children  of  this  good  man  have  a  rich  inheritance  in  his 
memory  to  be  proud  of  and  thankful  to  God  for.  The  old 
woman  never  wholly  recovered  the  shock  she  had  sustained ; 
she  moped  and  pined  away  in  a  state  of  listless  apathy,  that 
merged  eventually  into  a  state  of  hypochondria,  and  in  a  par 
oxysm  of  despondency  she  attempted  to  put  an  end  to  her  ex 
istence  by  cutting  her  throat. 

Strange  to  say,  although  the  windpipe  was  severed,  and  she 
lost  a  great  deal  of  blood,  the  principal  arteries  being  uninjured, 
with  timely  assistance  and  the  best  medical  care  she  partially 
recovered,  and  was  restored,  not  only  to  tolerable  bodily  health, 
but  to  a  comparatively  sound  state  of  mind  also.  She  died  after 
a  year  or  two.  Scarcely  any  one  out  of  Ryan's  house  cared  for 
her  or  spoke  about  her;  nothing  more  was  heard  of  her  or  hers, 
but  the  voice  of  her  innocent  son's  blood  went  up  to  heaven. 

The  ways  and  wisdom  of  heaven  are  inscrutable  indeed. 
Mr.  Power,  who  shed  that  innocent  blood,  lived  for  some  years 
in  the  midst  of  revelry  and  riot,  and  eventually  died  in  his  bed, 
not  wanting  for  any  of  the  necessaries  or  comforts  of  life,  with 
ample  time,  but  with  no  disposition  for  repentance  for  an  ill- 
spent  life. 

But  the  eldest  son  of  Mr.  Power,  Michael,  a  noble-minded, 
generous,  kindly-disposed  youth,  who  looked  with  horror  on  the 
acts  of  his  father,  and  was  forced  to  witness  the  last  barbarous 
outrage  of  his,  to  which  reference  has  been  just  made,  who 
never  spoke  to  his  sister  Marguerite  of  that  terrible  outrage 
without  shuddering  at  its  enormity — he  died  in  a  distant  land, 
in  the  prime  of  life,  suddenly,  without  previous  warning  or  ap 
prehension  of  his  untimely  fate.] 

"  About  this  time,"  says  Miss  Power,  "  Anne,  the  eldest  of 
the  family,  was  attacked  by  a  nervous  fever,  partly  the  result 
of  the  terror  and  anxiety  into  which  the  whole  of  the  family 
were  plunged  by  the  misfortunes  which  gathered  round  them, 


INTRODUCTION.  35 

aggravated  by  the  frequent  and  terrible  outbreaks  of  rage  to 
which  their  father,  always  passionate,  now  became  more  than 
ever  subject.  In  spite  of  every  effort,  this  lovely  child,  whose 
affectionate  disposition  and  endearing  qualities  entirely  preclud 
ed  any  feeling  of  jealousy  which  the  constant  praises  of  her  ex 
treme  beauty,  to  the  disparagement  of  Marguerite,  might  have 
excited  in  the  breast  of  the  latter,  fell  a  victim  to  the  disease, 
and  not  long  after,  Edmund,  the  second  son,  also  died.* 

"  These  successive  misfortunes  so  impaired  the  health  and 
depressed  the  spirits  of  the  mother,  that  the  gloom  continued  to 
fall  deeper  and  deeper  over  the  house. 

"  Thus  matters  continued  for  some  years,  though  there  were 
moments  when  the  natural  buoyancy  of  childhood  caused  the 
younger  members  of  the  family  to  find  relief  from  the  cloud  of 
sorrow  and  anxiety  that  hung  over  their  home.  The  love  of 
society  still  entertained  by  their  father  brought  not  unfrequent 
guests  to  his  board,  and  enabled  his  children  to  mix  with  the 
families  around.  Among  those  who  visited  at  his  house  were 
some  whose  names  have  been  honorably  known  to  their  coun 
try.  Lord  Hutchinson  and  his  brothers,  Curran,  the  brilliant 
and  witty  Lysaght,  Generals  Sir  Robert  Mac  Farlane,  and  Sir 
Colquhoun  Grant — then  lieutenant  colonels — officers  of  various 
ranks,  and  other  men  of  talent  and  merit,  were  among  these 
visitors,  and  their  society  and  conversation  were  the  greatest 
delight  of  Marguerite,  who,  child  as  she  was,  was  perfectly  ca 
pable  of  understanding  and  appreciating  their  superiority." 

[Among  those  also,  in  1804,  who  were  intimately  acquainted 
with  the  Powers,  were  Captain  Henry  Hardinge,  of  the  47th 
Regiment  of  Foot,  Captain  Archibald  Campbell,  Major  Edward 
Blakeney,  and  Captain  James  Murray  of  the  same  regiment.] 

"At  fourteen,  Marguerite  began  to  enter  into  the  society  of 
grown-up  persons,  an  event  which  afforded  her  no  small  satis 
faction,  as  that  of  children,  with  the  exception  of  her  brothers 
and  sisters,  especially  Ellen,  from  whom  she  was  almost  insepar 
able,  had  but  little  charm  for  her.  Ellen,  who  was  somewhat 

*  Lady  Blessington,  in  the  account  of  the  family  given  to  me  by  her  ladyship, 
makes  no  mention  of  a  son  named  Edmund. — R.  R.  M. 

VOL.  I.— B 


25  INTRODUCTION. 

more  than  a  year  her  junior,  shared  the  beauty  of  her  family, 
a  fact  of  which  Marguerite,  instead  of  being  jealous,  was 
proud,  and  the  greatest  affection  subsisted  between  the  sisters, 
though  there  Avas  but  little  similarity  in  their  dispositions  or 
pursuits.  In  order  that  they  might  not  be  separated,  Ellen, 
notwithstanding  her  extreme  youth,  was  permitted  to  accom 
pany  her  sister  into  the  society  of  Tipperary.  that  is  to  say,  to 
assemblies  held  there  once  a  week,  called  Coteries.  These, 
though  music  and  dancing  were  the  principal  amusements,  were 
not  considered  as  balls,  to  which  only  girls  of  riper  years  were 
admitted.  Here,  though  Ellen's  beauty  at  first  procured  her 
much  more  notice  and  admiration  than  fell  to  the  lot  of  her 
sister,  the  latter,  ere  long,  began  to  attract  no  inconsiderable 
degree  of  attention.  Her  dancing  was  singularly  graceful,  and 
the  intelligence  of  her  conversation  produced  more  lasting 
impressions  than  mere  physical  beauty  could  have  won. 

"About  this  period  the  47th  Regiment  arrived,  and  was  sta 
tioned  at  Clonmel,  and,  according  to  the  custom  of  country 
towns,  particularly  in  Ireland,  all  the  houses  of  the  leading  gen 
try  were  thrown  open  to  receive  the  officers  with  due  attention. 

"At  a  dinner  given  to  them  by  her  father.  Marguerite  was 
treated  with  marked  attention  by  two  of  them,  Captain  Mur 
ray  and  Captain  Farmer,  and  this  attention  was  renewed  at  a 
juvenile  ball  given  shortly  after. 

"  The  admiration  of  Captain  Murray,  although  it  failed  to 
win  so  very  youthful  a  heart,  pleased  and  flattered  her,  while 
that  of  Captain  Farmer  excited  nothing  but  mingled  fear  and 
distaste.  She  hardly  knew  why  ;  for  young,  good-looking,  and 
with  much  to  win  the  good  graces  of  her  sex,  he  was  generally 
considered  as  more  than  equal  to  Captain  Murray  in  the  power 
of  pleasing. 

"An  instinct,  however,  which  she  could  neither  define  nor 
control,  increased  her  dislike  to  such  a  degree  at  every  succeed 
ing  interview,  that  Captain  Farmer,  perceiving  it  Avas  in  vain 
to  address  her  personally,  applied  to  her  parents,  unknoAvn  to 
her,  offering  his  hand,  with  the  most  liberal  proposals  which  a 
good  fortune  enabled  him  to  make.  In  ignorance  of  an  event 


INTRODUCTION. 


27 


which  was  destined  to  work  so  important  a  change  in  her  des 
tiny,  Marguerite  received  a  similar  proposal  from  Captain  Mur 
ray,  who  at  the  same  time  informed  her  of  the  course  adopted 
by  his  brother  officer,  and  revealed  a  fact  which  perhaps  ac 
counted  for  the  instinctive  dread  she  felt  for  him." 

[Captain  Farmer  was  subject  to  fits  of  ungovernable  passion, 
at  times  so  violent  as  to  endanger  the  safety  of  himself  and 
those  around  him  ;  and  at  all  times  there  was  about  him  a  cer 
tain  wildness  and  abruptness  of  speech  and  gesture,  which  left 
the  impression  on  her  mind  that  he  was  insane.] 

"Astonishment,  embarrassment,  and  incredulity  were  the  feel 
ings  uppermost  in  the  girl's  mind  at  a  communication  so  every 
way  strange  and  unexpected. 

"A  few  days  proved  to  her  that  the  information  of  Captain 
Farmer's  having  addressed  himself  to  her  parents  was  but  too 
true  ;  and  the  further  discovery  that  these  addresses  were 
sanctioned  by  them,  filled  her  with  anxiety  and  dismay.  She 
knew  the  embarrassed  circumstances  of  her  father,  the  desire 
he  would  naturally  feel  to  secure  a  union  so  advantageous  in 
a  worldly  point  of  view  for  one  of  his  children,  and  she  knew, 
too,  his  fiery  temper,  his  violent  resistance  of  any  attempt  at 
opposition,  and  the  little  respect,  or  consideration,  he  entertain 
ed  for  the  wishes  of  any  of  his  family  when  contrary  to  his  own. 
Her  mother,  too,  gave  but  little  heed  to  what  she  considered 
as  the  foolish  and  romantic  notions  of  a  child  who  was  much 
too  young  to  be  consulted  in  the  matter.  Despite  of  tears, 
prayers,  and  entreaties,  the  unfortunate  girl  was  compelled  to 
yield  to  the  commands  of  her  inexorable  parents  ;  and,  at  four 
teen  and  a  half,  she  was  united  to  a  man  who  inspired  her 
with  nothing  but  feelings  of  terror  and  detestation."* 

[Captain  Maurice  St.  Leger  Farmer  entered  the  army  in 
February,  1795  ;  he  had  been  on  half  pay  in  1802,  and  obtained 
his  company  the  9th  of  July,  1803,  in  the  47th  Regiment  of 
Foot.f  In  1805  he  continued  in  the  same  regiment,  but  in  1806 

*  The  brideman  of  Captain  Farmer  was  a  Captain  Hardinge,  of  the  47th  Reg 
iment.     The  captain  became  a  general,  and  is  now  a  lord. — R.  R.  M. 
t  Vide  Army  Lists  for  1804,  5,  6. 


28  INTRODUCTION. 

liis  name  is  not  to  be  found  in  the  Army  List,  neither  of  officers 
on  full  or  on  half  pay.] 

"  The  result  of  such  a  union  may  be  guessed.  Her  husband 
could  not  but  be  conscious  of  the  sentiment  she  entertained 
toward  him,  though  she  endeavored  to  conceal  the  extent  of 
her  aversion ;  and  this  conviction,  acting  upon  his  peculiarly 
excitable  temperament,  produced  such  frequent  and  terrible 
paroxysms  of  rage  and  jealousy,  that  his  victim  trembled  in  his 
presence.  It  were  needless  to  relate  the  details  of  the  period 
of  misery,  distress,  and  harrowing  fear  through  which  Margue 
rite,  a  child  in  years,  though  old  in  suffering,  passed.  Denied 
in  her  entreaties  to  be  permitted  to  return  to  the  house  of  her 
parents,  she  at  last,  in  positive  terror  for  her  personal  safety, 
fled  from  the  roof  of  her  husband  to  return  no  more." 

[There  is  a  slight  mistake  in  the  passage  above  referred  to. 
On  Lady  Blessington's  own  authority  I  am  able  to  state,  that 
she  did  return  to  her  father's  house,  though  she  was  very  reluct 
antly  received  there.  The  particulars  of  this  unhappy  marriage 
had  best  be  given  in  the  words  of  Lady  Blessington,  and  the 
following  is* an  account  of  it,  furnished  me  by  her  ladyship  on 
the  15th  of  October,  1853. 

'*  Her  father  was  in  a  ruined  position  at  the  time  Lady  Bless 
ington  was  brought  home  from  school,  a  mere  child,  and  treated 
as  such.  Among  his  military  friends,  she  then  saw  a  Captain 
Farmer  for  the  first  time  ;  he  appeared  on  very  intimate  terms 
with  her  father,  but  when  she  first  met  him,  her  father  did  not 
introduce  her  to  him  ;  in  fact,  she  was  looked  on  then  as  a  mere 
school-girl,  whom  it  was  not  necessary  to  introduce  to  any 
stranger.  In  a  day  or  two  her  father  told  her  she  was  not  to 
return  to  school :  he  had  decided  that  she  was  to  marry  Captain 
Farmer.  This  intelligence  astonished  her ;  she  burst  out  cry 
ing,  and  a  scene  ensued  in  which  his  menaces  and  her  protesta 
tions  against  his  determination  terminated  violently.  Her 
mother  unfortunately  sided  with  her  father,  and  eventually,  by 
caressing  entreaties  and  representations  of  the  advantages  her 
father  looked  forward  to  from  this  match  with  a  man  of  Cap 
tain  Farmer's  affluence,  she  was  persuaded  to  sacrifice  herself, 


INTRODUCTION.  29 

and  to  marry  a  man  for  whom  she  felt  the  utmost  repugnance. 
She  had  not  been  long  under  her  husband's  roof  before  it 
became  evident  to  her  that  her  husband  was  subject  to  fits  of 
insanity,  and  his  own  relatives  informed  her  that  her  father 
had  been  acquainted  by  them  that  Captain  Farmer  had  been 
insane  ;  but  this  information  had  been  concealed  from  her  by 
her  father.  She  lived  with  him  about  three  months,  and  dur 
ing  this  time  he  frequently  treated  her  with  personal  violence ; 
he  used  to  strike  her  on  the  face,  pinch  her  till  her  arms  were 
black  and  blue,  lock  her  up  whenever  he  went  abroad,  and 
often  has  left  her  without  food  till  she  felt  almost  famished. 
He  was  ordered  to  join  his  regiment,  which  was  encamped  at 
the  Curragh  of  Kildare.  Lady  Blessington  refused  to  accom 
pany  him  there,  and  was  permitted  to  remove  to  her  father's 
house,  to  remain  there  during  his  absence.  Captain  Farmer 
joined  his  regiment,  and  had  not  been  many  days  with  it, 
when,  in  a  quarrel  with  his  colonel,  he  drew  his  sword  on  the 
former,  and  the  result  of  this  insane  act  (for  such  it  was 
allowed  to  be)  was,  that  he  was  obliged  to  quit  the  service, 
being  permitted  to  sell  his  commission.  The  friends  of  Captain 
Farmer  now  prevailed  on  him  to  go  to  India  (I  think  Lady 
Blessington  said  in  the  Company's  service) ;  she,  however, 
refused  to  go  with  him,  and  remained  at  her  father's." 

Such  is  the  account  given  to  me  by  Lady  Blessington,  and  for 
the  accuracy  of  the  above  report  of  it  I  can  vouch  ;  though,  of 
course,  I  can  offer  no  opinion  as  to  the  justice  of  her  conclusions 
in  regard  to  the  insanity  of  Captain  Farmer.  But  it  must  be 
stated  fully  and  unreservedly  that  the  account  given  by  her  la 
dyship  of  the  causes  of  the  separation,  and  those  set  forth  in  a 
recent  communication  of  a  brother  of  Captain  Farmer  to  the  edi 
tor  of  a  Dublin  evening  paper  are  in  some  respects  at  variance. 

But  in  one  important  point  the  statement  of  the  brother  of 
Captain  Farmer,  in  contradiction  of  the  account  given  by  Lady 
Blessington's  niece  of  the  habits  of  Captain  Farmer,  must  be  er 
roneous,  if  the  finding  of  the  jury  at  the  inquest  held  on  his  body, 
and  the  evidence  of  the  deputy  marshal  of  the  prison  be  correct. 

Mr.  John  Sheehy,  now  residing  in  Clonmel,  the  cousin  of  Lady 


30 


INTRODUCTION. 


Blessington,  informs  me  that  "  he  has  a  perfect  recollection  of 
the  marriage  of  Lady  Blessington  with  Captain  Farmer.  His 
father  considered  it  a  forced  marriage,  and  used  to  speak  of  the 
violence  done  to  the  poor  girl  by  her  father  as  an  act  of  tyranny. 
It  was  an  unfortunate  marriage,"  says  Mr.  Sheehy,  "  and  it  led 
to  great  misfortunes.  It  was  impossible  for  her  to  live  with 
Captain  Farmer.  She  fled  from  him,  and  sought  refuge  in  her 
father's  house. 

"  She  refused  to  return  to  her  husband,  and  a  separation  was 
agreed  on  by  the  parties.  Mrs.  Farmer  found  herself  very  un 
happily  circumstanced  in  her  former  home.  Her  father  was 
unkind,  and  sometimes  more  than  unkind  to  her.  She  was 
looked  on  as  an  interloper  in.  the  house,  as  one  who  interfered 
with  the  prospects  and  advancement  in  life  of  her  sisters.  It 
was  supposed  that  one  of  the  military  friends  of  Mr.  Power's, 
and  a  frequent  visitor  at  his  house,  Captain  Jenkins,  then  sta 
tioned  at  Tullow,had  been  disposed  to  pay  his  addresses  to  Miss 
'Ellen  Power,  and  to  have  married  her,  and  was  prevented  by 
other  stronger  impressions  made  on  him  by  one  then  wholly 
unconscious  of  the  influence  exerted  by  her."*  The  supposition, 
however,  was  an  erroneous  one. 

Captain  Jenkins  was  brought  up  in  the  expectation  of  inher 
iting  a  large  fortune  in  Hampshire,  and  was  ultimately  disap 
pointed  in  that  expectation.  For  several  years  he  had  a  large 
income,  and  having  expended  a  great  deal  of  money  previously 
to  his  marriage,  had  been  for  many  years  greatly  embarrassed. 
His  embarrassments,  however,  did  not  prevent  him  from  retain- 

*  The  officer  referred  to  by  Mr.  Sheehy  was  a  Captain  Thomas  Jenkins,  of  the 
llth  Light  Dragoons,  a  gentleman  of  a  good  family  in  Hampshire,  and  of  very 
large  expectations  of  fortune. 

By  the  Army  List  we  find  this  gentleman  entered  the  army  in  December,  1801. 
He  held  the  rank  of  lieutenant  in  the  llth  Light  Dragoons  in  January,  1802.  In 
December,  1806,  he  obtained  a  captaincy,  and  continued  to  hold  the  same  rank 
in  that  regiment  till  after  the  peace  in  1815.  In  1809  he  was  domiciled  in  Dublin, 
in  Holies  Street,  and*Mrs.  Farmer  was  then  also  residing  in  Dublin.  In  1816  his 
name  disappears  from  the  Army  Lists.  He  had  an  establishment  at  Sidmanton, 
in  Hampshire,  for  three  or  four  years  previously  to  1814.  He  served  with  his 
regiment  in  the  latter  part  of  the  Peninsular  campaign,  and  was  absent  from  Sid 
manton  nearly  two  years. — R.  R.  M. 


INTRODUCTION.  31 

ing  the  esteem  and  regard  of  all  who  had  known  him  in  his 
more  prosperous  circumstances.  He  was  a  generous  man,  an 
amiable  and  high-minded  gentleman,  of  elegant  manners  and 
pleasing  address.  He  married,  when  rather  advanced  in  years, 
the  Baroness  Calabrella — a  sister  of  a  gentleman  of  some  noto 
riety  in  his  day,  Mr.  Ball  Hughes — the  widow  first  of  a  Mr.  Lee, 
and  secondly  of  a  Mr.  De  Blaquiere.  This  lady,  who  was  pos 
sessed  of  considerable  means,  purchased  a  small  property  on  the 
Continent,  with  some  rights  of  seigniorage  appertaining  to  it, 
from  which  the  title  is  derived  which  she  now  bears. 

She  resided  for  some  years  in  Abbeville,  up  to  a  short  period,  I 
believe,  of  her  second  husband's  death,  which  took  place  in  Paris. 

This  lady  is  the  talented  authoress  of  several  remarkable  pro 
ductions,  was  long  intimately  acquainted  with  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  and  held  in  very  high  estimation  by  her  ladyship. 

"  The  house  of  Mr.  Power,"  Mr.  Sheehy  states,  "  was  made  so 
disagreeable  to  Mrs.  Farmer,  that  she  might  be  said  to  have  been 
driven  to  the  necessity  of  seeking  shelter  elsewhere. 

"  He  remembers  Mrs.  Farmer  residing  at  Tullow,  in  the  county 
of  Waterford,  four  miles  from  Lismore.  His  own  family  was 
then  living  at  Cappoquin,  within  seven  miles  of  Tullow.  Mrs. 
Farmer  wrote  to  her  uncle  and  his  daughters,  but  he  disap 
proved  of  her  separation  from  Captain  Farmer,  and  refused  on 
that  account  to  allow  his  daughter  to  visit  her. 

"  Previously  to  her  marriage  with  Captain  Farmer,"  he  adds, 
"  idle  persons  gossiped  about  her  alleged  love  of  ball-room  dis 
tinction  and  intimacy  with  persons  remarkable  for  gayety  and 
pleasure.  But  there  was  no  ground  for  the  rumor." 

Another  gentleman  well  acquainted  with  the  family,  Alder 
man  H ,  says  :  "  Mrs.  Farmer  lived  for  nearly  three  years 

with  her  husband  at  different  places.  After  the  separation,  she 
sojourned  for  some  time  with  her  aunt,  Mrs.  Gleeson,  the  wife 
of  Dr.  Gleeson,  who  lived  at  Uingville,  near  Dungarvan.  She 
resided  also  occasionally  at  her  father's  with  her  sister  Ellen, 
sans  reproche  (but  not  without  great  trials) ;  her  husband  treated 
her  badly." 

Mr.  Jeremiah  Meagher,  British  Vice-Consul  at  Lisbon,  inform- 


32 


INTRODUCTION. 


ed  me  that  he  was  in  the  employment  of  Mr.  Power,  in  connec 
tion  with  the  Clonmel  Gazette,  in  1804,  at  the  period  of  the 
marriage  of  Marguerite  Power  with  Captain  Farmer  ;  that  sub 
sequently  to  it  he  knew  her  when  she  was  residing  at  Cahir. 

Mr.  Meagher  speaks  in  terms  of  the  strongest  regard  for  her. 
"  He  never  knew  a  person  so  inclined  to  act  kindly  toward  oth 
ers,  to  do  any  thing  that  lay  in  her  power  to  serve  others  ;  he 
never  knew  a  person  naturally  better  disposed,  or  one  possessing 
so  much  goodness  of  heart.  He  knew  her  from  childhood  to  the 
period  of  her  marriage,  and  some  years  subsequently  to  it ;  and 
of  all  the  children  of  Mr.  Power,  Marguerite  was  his  favorite." 
This  is  the  testimony  of  a  very  honest  and  upright  man. 
Mr.  Meagher  says  :  "  She  resided  at  Cahir  so  late  as  1807. 
He  thinks  Captain  Jenkins'  intimacy  with  the  Power  family 
commenced  in  1807."  And  another  informant,  Mr. Wright,  son 
of  Bernard  Wright,  states  that  Mrs.  Farmer,  while  residing  at 
Cahir,  visited  frequently  at  Lord  GlengalPs.  Other  persons  have 
a  recollection  of  Colonel  Stewart,  of  Killymoon,  being  a  favorite 
guest  at  the  house  of  Mr.  Power  at  many  entertainments  between 
1806  and  1807. 

The  Tyrone  militia  was  stationed  at  Clonmel  or  in  its  vicin 
ity  about  the  period  of  Captain  Farmer's  marriage  with  Miss 
Power,  or  not  long  after  that  event. 

The  colonel  of  this  regiment  was  the  Earl  of  Caledon  (date 
of  appointment,  llth  of  August,  1804).  The  lieutenant  colonel, 
Lord  Mount] oy  (date  of  appointment,  28th  of  September,  1804). 
His  lordship  was  succeeded  in  the  lieutenant  colonelcy  by  Will 
iam  Stewart,  Esq.,  son  of  Sir  J.  Stewart,  of  Killymoon  (date  of 
appointment,  16th  of  April,  1805),  and  he  continued  to  hold  that 
rank  from  1805  to  1812.  As  an  intimate  friend  of  Lady  Bless- 
ington  and  her  sister,  Lady  Canterbury,  a  few  words  of  Colonel 
Stewart  may  not  be  out  of  place. 

He  was  a  descendant  of  the  junior  branch  of  the  Stewarts  of 
Ochiltree,  who  were  related  to  the  royal  line,  and  who  received 
large  grants  from  James  I.  after  his  accession  to  the  British 
throne.  Colonel  Stewart's  splendid  seat  and  magnificent  de 
mesne  of  Killymoon  were  hardly  equaled,  for  elegant  taste  and 


INTRODUCTION.  33 

beauty  of  situation  and  scenery,  in  the  county  of  Tyrone.  The 
library,  the  remains  of  which  I  saw  immediately  after  the  sale 
of  the  property  in  1850,  was  one  of  the  richest  in  Ireland  in 
Italian  literature.  The  colonel  had  been  much  in  Italy,  and 
had  carried  back  with  him  the  tastes  and  habits  of  an  accom 
plished  traveler,  and  a  lover  of  Italian  lore.  His  personal  ap 
pearance  and  manners  were  remarkable  for  elegance,  and  were 
no  less  prepossessing  and  attractive  than  his  mental  qualities 
and  accomplishments. 

Sir  John  Stewart,  the  father  of  the  late  Colonel  Stewart,  died 
in  October,  1825,  at  his  seat,  Killymoon.  He  had  been  a  distin 
guished  member  of  the  Dungannon  volunteer  convention.  "  Sir 
John  had  been  returned  six  times  for  the  county  Tyrone,  and 
had  been  a  member  of  the  Irish  and  Imperial  Parliament  for 
forty  years,  during  which  time  he  was  a  steady,  uniform,  and 
zealous  supporter  of  the  Constitution  in  church  and  state.  He 
filled  the  offices  of  counsel  to  the  Revenue  Board,  Solicitor  Gen* 
eral,  and  Attorney  General ;  and  of  him  it  was  truly  observed 
by  an  aged  statesman,  *  that  he  was  one  of  the  few  men  who 
grew  more  humble  the  higher  he  advanced  in  political  station.' 
Sir  John  was  married  in  the  year  1790  to  Miss  Archdale,  sister 
of  General  Archdale,  M.P.  for  the  county  of  Fermanagh,  by  whom 
he  had  two  sons  and  a  daughter."* 

In  the  several  notices  of  Lady  Blessington  that  have  been 
published,  there  is  a  hiatus  in  the  account  given  that  leaves  a 
period  of  about  nine  years  unnoticed. 

In  1807  she  was  living  at  Cahir,  in  the  county  Tipperary,  sep 
arated  from  her  husband  ;  in  1809  she  was  sojourning  in  Dub 
lin ;  a  little  later  she  was  residing  in  Hampshire  ;  in  1816,  we 
find  her  established  in  Manchester  Square,  London  ;  and  at  the 
commencement  of  1818,  on  the  point  of  marriage  with  an  Irish 
nobleman. 

The  task  I  have  proposed  to  myself  does  not  render  it  neces 
sary  for  me  to  do  more  than  glance  at  the  fact,  and  to  cite  a  few 
passages  more  from  the  Memoir  of  Miss  Power.] 

"  Circumstances  having  at  last  induced  Mrs.  Farmer  to  fix 

*  Annual  Register,  Appendix  to  Chronicle,  1825,  p.  28f>. 

B2 


34 


INTRODUCTION. 


upon  London  as  a  residence,  she  established  herself  in  a  house 
in  Manchester  Square,  where,  with  her  brother  Robert  (Michael 
had  died  some  years  previously),  she  remained  for  a  considera 
ble  period. 

"  Notwithstanding  the  troublous  scenes  through  which  she 
had  passed,  the  beauty  denied  in  her  childhood  had  gradually 
budded  and  blossomed  into  a  degree  of  loveliness  which  many 
now  living  can  attest,  and  which  Lawrence  painted,  and  Byron 
sung." 

[Among  the  visitors  at  her  house,  we  are  told  by  Miss  Power, 
was  the  Earl  of  Blessington,  then  a  widower.  And  on  the  oc 
currence  of  an  event  in  1817  which  placed  the  destiny  of  Mrs. 
Farmer  in  her  own  hands,  his  lordship's  admiration  was  soon 
made  known,  and  proposals  of  marriage  were  offered  to  her,  and 
accepted  by  her,  in  1818. 

The  event  above  referred  to  was  the  death  of  Captain  Far 
mer.  Captain  Farmer,  subsequently  to  the  separation  about 
1807,  having  left  his  regiment,  still  serving  in  Ireland,  went  to 
the  East  Indies,  obtained  an  employment  there,  and  remained 
in  it  a  few  years.  He  returned  to  England  about  1816,  and  be 
ing  acquainted  with  persons  involved  in  pecuniary  embarrass 
ments,  who  had  been  thrown  into  prison  during  their  confine 
ment  within  the  rules  of  the  Fleet,  he  visted  them  frequently, 
lived  freely,  and,  I  believe  it  may  be  added,  riotously,  with  his 
imprisoned  friends. 

On  one  occasion,  of  a  festive  nature,  after  having  been  regaled 
by  them,  and  indulging  to  excess,  in  the  act  of  endeavoring  to 
sally  forth  from  the  room  where  the  entertainment  had  been 
given,  he  rushed  out  of  the  room,  placed  himself  on  the  ledge 
of  the  window  to  escape  the  importunities  of  his  associates,  fell 
to  the  ground  in  the  court-yard,  and  died  of  the  wounds  he  re 
ceived  a  little  later. 

From  the  "  Morning  Herald"  of  October  28th,  181 7,  the  follow 
ing  account  is  taken  of  the  inquest  on  Captain  Maurice  Farmer  : 
"  An  inquisition  has  been  taken  at  the  Bear  and  Rummer, 
Wells  Street,  Middlesex  Hospital,  on  the  body  of  Captain  Mau- 
rico  Farmer,  who  was  killed  by  falling  from   a  window  in  the 


INTRODUCTION.  35 

King's  Bench  Prison.  The  deceased  was  a  captain  in  the  army, 
upon  half  pay  ;  and  having  received  an  appointment  in  the  serv 
ice  of  the  Spanish  Patriots,  went,  on  Tuesday  week,  to  take  leave 
of  some  friends  confined  in  the  King's  Bench  Prison.  The  party 
drank  four  quarts  of  rum,  and  were  all  intoxicated.  When  the 
deceased  rose  to  go  home,  his  friends  locked  the  door  of  the 
room  to  prevent  him.  Apprehensive  that  they  meant  to  detain 
him  all  night,  as  they  had  done  twice  before,  he  threw  up  the 
window  and  threatened  to  jump  out  if  they  did  not  release  him. 
Finding  this  of  no  avail,  he  got  upon  the  ledge,  and,  while  ex 
postulating  with  them,  lost  his  balance.  He  hung  on  for  some 
minutes  by  his  hands,  but  his  friends  were  too  much  intoxicated 
to  be  able  to  relieve  him.  He  consequently  fell  from  the  two 
pair,  and  had  one  thigh  and  one  arm  broken,  and  the  violence 
with  which  his  head  came  in  contact  with  the  ground  produced 
an  effusion  of  blood  on  the  brain.  He  was  taken  up  in  a  state 
of  insensibility,  and  conveyed  to  the  Middlesex  Hospital,  where 
he  died  on  Tuesday  last.  The  deputy  marshal  of  the  King's 
Bench  Prison  attended  the  inquest.  He  stated  that  the  friends 
of  the  deceased  had  no  intention  of  injuring  him  ;  but,  from  the 
gross  impropriety  of  their  conduct,  the  marshal  had  committed 
them  to  Horsemonger  Lane  Jail,  to  one  month's  solitary  con 
finement. 

"  The  jury  came  to  the  following  verdict :  '  The  deceased 
came  to  his  death  by  accidentally  falling  from  a  window  in  the 
King's  Bench  Prison  when  in  a  state  of  intoxication.'  " 

In  that  statement  made  to  me  by  Lady  Blessingtoii  in  1843, 
to  which  I  have  previously  referred,  I  was  informed,  "  In  a  few 
days  after  Captain  Farmer's  death,  Perry,  of  the  Morning  Chron 
icle  (then  unknown  to  Lord  Blessington),  addressed  a  note  to 
Lord  Blessington,  inclosing  a  statement,  purporting  to  be  an  ac 
count  of  the  death  of  Captain  Farmer,  sent  to  him  for  insertion 
in  his  paper,  throwing  an  air  of  mystery  over  the  recent  catas 
trophe,  asserting  things  that  were  utterly  unfounded,  and  enter 
ing  into  many  particulars  in  connection  with  his  marriage.  The 
simple  statement  of  the  facts  on  the  part  of  Lord  Blessington  to 
Perry  sufficed  to  prevent  the  insertion  of  this  infamous  slander, 


36  INTRODUCTION. 

and  laid  the  foundation  of  a  lasting  friendship  between  Lord 
and  Lady  Blessington,  and  the  worthy  man  who  was  then  editor 
of  the  'Morning  Chronicle.'  ' 

Mr.  Power,  in  the  mean  time,  had  become  a  ruined  man,  bank 
rupt  in  fortune,  character,  and  domestic  happiness.  He  removed 
to  Dublin  from  Clonmel,  and  there,  in  Clarendon  Street,  Mrs. 
Power  died,  far  advanced  in  years.  Her  husband  married  a  sec 
ond  time,  upward  of  twenty  years  ago,  a  Mrs.  Hymes,  widow  of 
a  brewer  of  Limerick.  This  lady,  whose  maiden  name  was 
Yize,  was  a  native  of  Clonmel.  He  had  been  supported  for  a 
great  many  years  previously  to  his  death  by  his  two  daughters, 
Lady  Blessington  and  Lady  Canterbury,  who  jointly  contributed 
the  sum  of  one  hundred  and  twenty  pounds  a  year  toward  his 
maintenance.  He  possessed  no  other  means  of  subsistence,  hav 
ing  assigned  over  to  his  son  a  small  farm  which  he  possessed 
in  the  county  of  Waterford  at  the  time  the  arrangement  was  en 
tered  into  by  his  daughters  to  contribute  each  sixty  pounds  a 
year  for  his  maintenance. 

The  claims  on  Lady  Blessington  were  more  extensive  than 
can  be  well  conceived.  One  member  of  her  family  had  an  an 
nual  stipend  paid  monthly,  from  the  year  1836  to  1839  inclu 
sive,  of  five  pounds  a  month.  In  1840  it  was  increased  to  eight 
pounds  a  month.  From  1841  to  1847,  inclusive,  it  was  seven 
pounds  a  month.  These  payments,  for  which  I  have  seen  vouch 
ers,  amounted,  in  all,  to  the  sum  of  seven  hundred  and  eighty- 
four  pounds.  I  have  reason  to  believe  the  stipend  was  contin 
ued  to  be  paid  in  1848,  which  additional  sum  would  make  the 
amount  eight  hundred  and  sixty-eight  pounds  devoted  to  the  as 
sistance  of  one  relative  alone,  exclusive  of  other  occasional  con 
tributions  on  particular  occasions. 

Miss  Mary  Anne  Power,  the  youngest  sister  of  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  married,  in  1831,  an  old  French  nobleman  of  ancient  fam 
ily,  the  Count  Saint  Marsault.  The  disparity  of  years  in  this  al 
liance  was  too  great  to  afford  much  expectation  of  felicity.  The 
count  returned  to  his  own  country,  and  his  wife  returned  to  her 
native  land,  preserving  there,  as  elsewhere,  a  character  for  some 
eccentricity,  but  one  uniformly  irreproachable. 


INTRODUCTION. 


37 


Mrs.  Dogherty,  to  whom  allusion  is  made  in  the  letters  of 
Lady  Blessington,  was  a  relative  of  a  Mr.  Edward  duinlan,  of 
Clonmel,  an  old  gentleman  of  considerable  means,  who  had  been 
connected  by  marriage  with  Lady  Blessington's  mother  (vide 
genealogical  account  of  the  Sheehy  family).  Mr.  duinlan  died 
in  November,  1836,  leaving  large  fortunes  to  his  daughters.  On 
the  occasion  of  the  trial  of  Edmund  Power  for  the  murder  of  the 
boy  Lonergan,  till  Mr.  duinlan  came  forward  with  a  sum  of 
fifty  pounds  as  a  loan  to  Power,  the  latter  was  actually  unable 
at  the  time  to  engage  counsel  for  his  defense. 

The  Countess  St.  Marsault  went  to  reside  with  her  father  on 
her  arrival  in  Ireland,  first  at  Arklow,  afterward  in  lodgings  at 
No.  18  Camden  Street,  Dublin,  and  next  at  5  Lower  Dorset 
Street,  where,  in  the  latter  part  of  October,  1836,  Mr.  Power  was 
reduced  to  such  a  helpless  state  of  bodily  debility  and  suffering, 
that  he  was  "  unable  to  make  the  slightest  movement  without 
screaming  and  groaning  with  agony."  He  was  attended  in  Dub 
lin  by  a  relative  of  his,  a  Dr.  Kirwan,  a  first  cousin.  He  ap 
pears  to  have  died  in  the  early  part  of  1837.  On  the  30th  of 
January,  1837,  the  Countess  of  St.  Marsault  was  no  longer  re 
siding  in  Dublin,  but  was  then  domesticated  at  the  abode  of  an 
old  lady  of  the  name  of  Dogherty,  a  relative  of  hers,  at  Mont 
Bruis,  near  Cashel,  in  the  county  of  Tipperary.  There  she  re 
mained  for  nearly  a  year.  "  After  an  absence  of  thirty  years 
she  visited  Clonmel."  The  date  of  this  visit  was  April,  1837. 
She  must  then  have  quitted  Clonmel  in  1807,  in  very  early 
childhood.  In  1839  she  returned  to  England. 

Mr.  Power,  at  the  time  of  his  decease,  was  seventy  years  of 
age.  A  youth  passed  without  the  benefit  of  experience,  had 
merged  into  manhood  without  the  restraints  of  religion,  or  the 
influences  of  kindly  home  affections,  and  terminated  in  age  with 
out  wisdom,  or  honor,  or  respect,  and  death  without  solemnity, 
or  the  semblance  of  any  becoming  fitness  for  its  encounter.  The 
day  before  he  died,  the  only  thing  he  could  boast  of  to  a  friend 
who  visited  him  was,  that  he  had  been  able  to  take  his  four  or 
five  tumblers  of  punch  the  evening  before. 

This  brief  outline  brings  us  to  the  period  of  the  marriage  of 


38  NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSIN7GTON. 

Lord  and  Lady  Blessington,  at  which  it  will  be  my  province  to 
commence  the  history  of  the  literary  career  of  her  ladyship. 

Of  Lockhart's  "  Life  of  Scott/'  it  has  been  observed,  "  There 
we  have  the  author  and  the  man  in  every  stage  of  his  career, 
and  in  every  capacity  of  his  existence — Scott  in  his  study  and  in 
court — in  his  family  and  in  society — in  his  favorite  haunts  and 
lightest  amusements.  There  he  is  to  be  seen  in  the  exact  rela 
tion  in  which  he  stood  to  his  children,  his  intimates,  his  ac 
quaintances,  and  dependants — the  central  figure,  and  the  circle 
which  surrounded  it  (Constable,  the  Ballantynes,  Erskine,  Ter 
ry,  and  a  score  or  two  besides),  all  drawn  with  such  individual 
ity  of  feature,  and  all  painted  in  such  vivid  colors,  that  we  seem 
not  to  be  moving  among  the  shadows  of  the  dead,  but  to  live 
with  the  men  themselves."* 

I  hope,  at  least  in  one  particular,  it  will  be  found  I  have  en 
deavored  to  follow,  even  at  an  humble  distance,  the  example  of 
Scott's  biographer,  in  placing  before  my  readers  the  subject  of 
my  work  in  a  life-like,  truthful  manner,  as  she  was  before  the 
public  in  her  works  and  in  her  saloons,  and  also  in  her  private 
relations  toward  her  friends  and  relatives.! 


CHAPTER  I. 

NOTICE    OF    THE    EARL    OF    BLESSINGTOX HIS    ORIGIN,   EARLY    CA 
REER,    FIRST    A.\D     SECOND    MARRIAGE,   ETC. 

THE  first  Earl  of  Blessington  was  a  descendant  of  the  Walter 
Stewart,  or  Steward,  who,  "  on  account  of  his  high  descent,  and 
being  the  nearest  branch  of  the  royal  family  of  Scotland,"  we 
are  told  by  Lodge, f  "  was  created  Seneschal,  or  Lord  High  Stu 
art  of  Scotland,  or  Receiver  of  the  Royal  Revenues,  from  which 
office  his  family  afterward  took  and  retained  their  surname  of 
Stewart."  This  office  arid  dignity  were  created  by  Malcolm  the 
Third,  of  Scotland,  after  the  death  of  Macdufic,  in  1057.  The 
descendants  of  the  Lord  High  Constable  became  the  founders  of 

*  Literary  Gazette,  February  15,  1851. 

t   Irish  Peerage,  vol.  ii..  p.  196,  ed.  Rvn,  1754. 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.  39 

the  house  of  Lenox,  and  one  of  them,  by  intermarriage  with  the 
daughter  of  King  Robert  Bruce,  the  founder  of  many  noble  fam 
ilies  in  England  and  Ireland.  The  first  Stewart  of  this  race  who 
settled  in  Ireland  was  Sir  William  Stewart,  of  Aughentean  and 
of  Newtown  Stewart,  in  the  county  of  Tyrone,  and  his  brother, 
Sir  Robert  Stewart,  of  Culmore,  knights,  "  both  very  active  and 
able  gentlemen  in  the  distracted  times  of  King  Charles  the 
First."  Sir  Robert  came  into  Ireland  in  the  reign  of  James  the 
First.  He  received  from  that  monarch,  for  his  Irish  services, 
various  grants  of  rectories  and  other  Church  property  inLeitrim, 
Cavan,  and  Fermanagh,  and  subsequently  a  large  tract  of  coun 
try  of  the  confiscated  lands  of  Ulster  was  obtained  by  his  broth 
er  William.  In  1641  he  raised  and  commanded  a  troop  of  horse 
and  a  regiment  of  foot  of  one  thousand  men.  He  was  made 
Governor  of  Derry  in  1643,  and  in  that  year  totally  routed  the 
Irish  under  Owen  O'Neill  at  Clones.  He  and  his  brother,  hav 
ing  refused  to  take  the  Covenant,  were  deprived  of  their  com 
mand,  and  sent,  by  Moiick's  orders,  prisoners  to  London.  After 
many  vicissitudes,  Sir  Robert  returned  to  Ireland,  and  was  ap 
pointed  governor  of  the  city  and  county  of  Derry  in  1660.  Sir 
William,  "  being  in  great  favor  with  James  the  First,  became 
an  undertaker  for  the  plantation  of  escheated  lands  in  Ulster." 
He  was  created  a  baronet  in  1623.  He  assisted  largely  in  the 
plantation  of  Ulster,  and  profited  extensively  by  it.  He  was  a 
member  of  the  Privy  Council  in  the  time  of  King  James  the 
First  and  Charles  the  First.  At  the  head  of  his  regiment,  he, 
with  his  brother's  aid,  routed  Sir  Phelira  O'JNTeill  at  Strabane. 
He  left  many  children ;  his  eldest  son,  Sir  Alexander  Stewart, 
sided  with  the  Covenanters  in  1648.  He  was  killed  at  the  bat 
tle  of  Dunbar,  in  Scotland,  in  1653.  By  his  marriage  with  a 
daughter  of  Sir  Robert  Newcomen,  he  had  issue  Sir  William 
Stewart,  who  was  made  Gustos  Rotulorum  of  the  county  of  Don 
egal  in  1678,  and  was  advanced  to  the  dignity  of  Baron  Stewart 
of  Ramaltan,  and  Viscount  Mountjoy,  in  1682,  being  constituted 
at  the  same  time  Master  General  of  the  Ordnance  and  colonel 
of  a  regiment  of  horse. 

William   Stewart,  first  Viscount  Mountjoy,  was  slain  at  the 


40       NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

battle  of  Steinkirk,  in  Flanders,  in  1692.  He  was  succeeded  by 
his  son  William,  Viscount  Mountjoy,  who  died  in  Bordeaux, 
without  issue.* 

Alexander,  brother  of  the  preceding  William,  died  during  the 
lifetime  of  his  brother,  leaving  an  only  daughter. 

The  Right  Honorable  Luke  Gardiner,  member  of  Parliament 
and  privy  councilor,  married,  in  1711,  Anne,  sole  daughter  and 
heiress  of  the  Honorable  Alexander  Stewart,  second  son  of 
William,  first  Viscount  Mount] oy.f 

Lord  Primate  Boulter  recommended  Mr.  Luke  Gardiner  as  a 
fit  and  proper  person  to  be  made  a  privy  councilor.  His  views 
of  fitness  for  that  high  office  led  him  to  look  out  for  a  sturdy 
parvenu  of  Irish  descent,  without  regard  to  ancestry,  who  was 
capable  of  curbing  the  degenerate  lords  of  the  English  Pale,  and 
gentlemen  in  Parliament  descended  from  English  undertakers, 
too  influential  to  be  easily  managed,  who  had  become  "Hiberni- 
ores  quam  Hibernis  ipsis  ;"  in  a  few  words,  "  such  a  one  as  Mr. 
Gardiner,  to  help  to  keep  others  in  order"  in  the  Privy  Council. 

Primate  Boulter,  in  a  communication  to  the  English  minister 
recommending  Mr.  Gardiner,  said  : 

"  There  is  another  affair  which  I  troubled  the  Duke  of  Dorset 
about,  and  which  I  beg  leave  to  lay  before  your  grace,  which  is 
the  making  Mr.  Gardiner  a  privy  councilor.  He  is  deputy  to 
the  vice-treasurer  of  this  kingdom,  and  one  of  the  most  useful 
of  his  majesty's  servants  here,  as  your  grace  will  be  fully  satis 
fied  when  you  do  us  the  honor  to  be  with  us.  There  is  nobody 
here  more  against  increasing  the  number  of  privy  councilors 
than  I  am,  who  think  they  are  by  much  too  numerous ;  but  it 

*  Exshaw's  London  Magazine,  1754,  p.  259. 

t  Luke  Gardiner's  generally  supposed  origin  and  rise  in  the  world  from  a  me 
nial  station  in  the  service  of  Mr.  White,  of  Leixlip  Castle,  a  descendant  of  Sir 
Nicholas  White,  the  owner  and  occupier  of  the  castle  in  1GG6,  were  subjects  of 
some  satirical  pasquinades  and  witticisms  in  the  early  part  of  the  last  century. 
In  reference  to  his  alleged  former  servile  situation,  it  was  said  that  a  noble  friend 
of  his,  in  embarrassed  circumstances,  once  observed  to  him,  on  seeing  him  enter 
his  carriage,  "  How  does  it  happen,  Gardiner,  you  never  make  a  mistake  and  get 
up  behind  ?"  To  which  Gardiner  replied,  "  Some  people,  my  lord,  who  have  been 
long  accustomed  to  going  in,  remain  at  last  on  the  outside,  and  can  neither  get  in 
nor  up  again." 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.       41 

is  because  many  have  been  brought  in  without  any  knowledge 
of  business  or  particular  attachment  to  his  majesty's  service, 
merely  for  being  members  of  either  house  of  Parliament,  that 
we  want  such  a  one  as  Mr.  Gardiner  to  help  to  keep  others  in 
order  ;  as  he  is  most  zealously  attached  to  his  majesty  by  affec 
tion  as  well  as  by  interest,  and  is  a  thorough  man  of  business, 
and  of  great  weight  in  the  country."* 

The  practice  of  making  Jews  officers  in  the  Inquisition  was 
thought  to  have  worked  well  in  Spain,  and  to  have  served  to 
keep  the  grandees  in  order. 

Luke  Gardiner  died  at  Bath  in  1753,  and  was  succeeded  in 
his  estates  by  his  son,  Charles  Gardiner,  who,  on  the  demise  of 
his  maternal  grandfather  (when  the  male  line  of  the  Stewart 
family  ceased),  succeeded  to  all  the  property  of  the  late  lord. 
He  married  in  1741,  and  at  his  death  left  several  children. 

His  oldest  son,  the  Right  Honorable  Luke  Gardiner,  inherited 
the  Mountjoy  estates.  He  was  born  in  1745,  represented  the 
city  of  Dublin  in  Parliament,  was  made  a  privy  councilor,  and 
held  the  rank  of  colonel  in  the  Dublin  volunteers,  and  subse 
quently  in  the  Dublin  militia.  He  held  a  command,  also,  in  a 
volunteer  corps  in  his  native  county.  The  Mountjoy  title  was 
renewed  in  his  person.  In  1789  he  was  created  a  baron,  and 
in  1795  was  advanced  to  the  dignity  of  Viscount  Mountjoy. 
He  married,  in  1773,  the  eldest  daughter  of  a  Scotch  baronet, 
Sir  William  Montgomery,  and  sister  of  Anne,  Marchioness  of 
Townsend,  by  whom  he  had  issue  two  sons,  Luke  and  Charles 
John,  and  several  daughters. 

1st.  Luke,  who  died  in  1781,  in  infancy. 

2d.  Charles  John,  who  succeeded  his  father,  second  Viscount 
Mountjoy,  the  late  Earl  of  Blessington,  born  the  19th  July,  1782. 

3d.  Florinda,  who  died  in  1786,  aged  twelve  years. 

4th.  Louisa,  born  in  1775,  who  married  the  Right  Reverend 
Robert  Fowler,  D.D.,  Bishop  of  Dromore,  and  died  in  1848, 
aged  seventy -three  years. 

5th.  Harriet,  born  in  1776,  died  in  1849,  aged  seventy-three 
years. 

*  Boulter's  Letters. 


42       NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

6th.   Emily,  who  died  in  1788. 

7th.   Caroline,  who  died  in  1782. 

8th.  Elizabeth,  who  died  in  1791,  aged  eight  years. 

His  lordship  married,  secondly,  in  1793,  Margaret,  the  eldest 
daughter  of  Hector  Wallis,  by  whom  he  had  issue, 

9th.  Margaret,  born  in  1796,  married  the  Honorable  Hcly 
Hutchinson,  died  in  1825. 

The  father  of  the  late  Earl  of  Blessington,  the  Right  Honor 
able  Luke  Gardiner,  Viscount  Mountjoy,  was  an  able  and  ener 
getic  man.  In  his  zeal  for  the  public  weal,  he  was  by  no  means 
unmindful  of  his  own  interests.  He  advocated  warmly  the 
claims  of  the  Roman  Catholics  ;  he  was  one  of  the  earliest  and 
most  zealous  champions  of  their  cause  in  the  Irish  Parliament. 
He  took  a  very  active  and  prominent  part  in  the  suppression  of 
the  rebellion  of  1798  ;  and  on  the  5th  of  June  of  that  disastrous 
year,  fell  at  the  head  of  his  regiment  at  the  battle  of  New  Ross. 

Mr.  John  Graham,  a  small  farmer,  still  living  on  the  Mount- 
joy  Forest  estate,  in  the  county  of  Tyrone,  now  in  his  eighty  • 
sixth  year,  informs  me  the  first  Lord  Mountjoy,  in  the  year  1798, 
induced  him  to  join  his  lordship's  regiment,  and  to  accompany 
him  to  "VVcxford.  He  was  close  to  his  lordship,  at  Three  Bullet 
Gate,  at  the  battle  of  New  Ross,  when  the  king's  troops  were 
attacked  by  a  party  of  rebels,  who  lay  in  wait  for  them  in  the 
ditches  on  either  side  of  the  road,  and  commenced  a  heavy  fire, 
which  threw  the  troops  into  complete  disorder.  The  general 
who  was  there  in  command  ordered  the  troops  to  retreat ;  and 
they  did  retreat,  with  the  exception  of  Lord  Mountjoy  and  a  few 
soldiers  of  his  regiment.  Graham  saw  his  lordship  fall  from  his 
horse  mortally  wounded,  and  when  he  next  saw  him  he  was  dead, 
pierced  by  several  balls  and  with  many  pike-wounds  also. 

Lord  Mountjoy  enjoyed  several  sinecures  of  considerable  emol 
ument.  The  two  principal  ones  were  hereditary.  The  carica 
turists  of  his  day  devoted  their  sarcastic  talents  to  the  illustra 
tion  of  his  supposed  sinecurist  propensities.* 

*  In  one  of  these  productions,  inquiry  is  made  "  why  a  gardener  is  the  most 
extraordinary  man  in  the  world,"  and  the  following  reasons  are  assigned  in  reply 
to  the  qurry  : 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.       43 

The  Right  Honorable  Charles  John  Gardiner,  second  Viscount 
and  Baron  Mount] oy,  in  the  county  of  Tyrone,  at  the  time  of  his 
father's  death  in  1798,  was  in  his  seventeenth  year.  He  was 
educated  at  Eton  and  at  Christ  Church,  Oxford,  where  he  ob 
tained  the  honorary  degree  of  Master  of  Arts.*  In  1803  he  was 
appointed  lieutenant  colonel  of  the  Tyrone  militia,  and  in  1807 
a  deputy  lieutenant  of  the  county  of  Tyrone  ;  in  1809  he  was 
elected  a  representative  peer  for  Ireland,  and  advanced  to  the 
Earldom  of  Blessington,  June  22d,  1816. 

The  origin  of  this  latter  title  dates  from  1763.  Michael, 
Archbishop  of  Armagh  (of  the  family  of  Boyle,  Earl  of  Cork 
and  Orrery),  in  1665  was  constituted  Lord  High  Chancellor  of 
Ireland,  and  in  1671  was  sworn  one  of  the  lords  justices.  In 
1689  his  house  at  Blessington  was  plundered  by  the  Irish.  He 
died  in  1702,  and  was  buried  in  St.  Patrick's  church.  His  eldest 
son,  Murrogh,  by  his  second  marriage  with  a  daughter  of  Der- 
mod,  Earl  of  Inchiquin,  was  created  Lord  Tiscount  Blessington, 
in  the  county  of  Wicklow,  by  patent,  in  1673.  He  died  in  1718, 
and  was  succeeded  by  his  son  Charles.  One  of  the  daughters 
of  the  preceding  Viscount,  Anne,  in  1696,  married  Sir  William 
Stewart,  third  Viscount  Mountjoy,  born  in  1709.  Charles,  the 
second  Viscount  Blessington,  was  member  of  Parliament  for 
Blessington  in  the  reigns  of  (dueen  Anne  and  George  the  First. 
The  title  became  extinct  by  his  lordship's  death  near  Paris, 
without  issue,  in  1733. 

The  Sir  William  Stewart,  third  Viscount  Mountjoy  above 
mentioned,  who  married  a  daughter  of  Murrogh,  Viscount  Bless 
ington,  had  been  advanced  to  the  dignity  of  an  earl  by  the  title 
of  Earl  of  Blessington  in  1745. f 

"  Because  no  man  has  more  business  upon  earth,  and  he  always  chooses  good 
grounds  for  what  he  does.  He  turns  his  thyme  to  the  best  account.  He  is  master 
of  the  mint,  and  fingers  penny  royal ;  he  raises  his  celery  every  year,  and  it  is  a 
bad  year,  indeed,  that  does  not  bring  him  in  a  plum ;  he  has  more  boughs  than  a 
minister  of  state,  does  not  want  London  pride,  rakes  a  little  under  the  rose,  but 
would  be  more  sage  to  keep  the  Fox  from  his  inclosures,  to  destroy  the  rotten 
Burroghs,  and  to  avoid  the  blasts  from  the  North,  and  not  to  Foster  corruption, 
lest  a  Flood  should  follow.'' 

*  Among  Lord  Blessington's  contemporaries  at  Christ  Church,  Oxford,  in  1798, 
were  the  late  Lord  Dudley,  Lord  Ebrington,  Bishop  Heber,  &c. 

+  Archdall's  Peerage,  vol.  vi..  p.  25G. 


44  NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

Few  young  noblemen  ever  entered  life  with  greater  advan 
tages  than  the  young  Viscount  Mountjoy ;  he  was  possessed  of 
a  fine  fortune  at  the  time  of  his  coming  of  age  ;  he  had  received 
an  excellent  education,  was  possessed  of  some  talents,  and  a 
great  deal  of  shrewdness  of  observation,  and  quickness  of  per 
ception  in  the  discernment  of  talents  and  ability  of  any  intel 
lectual  kind.  He  had  a  refined  taste  for  literature  and  arts.  In 
politics  he  was  a  faithful  representative  of  his  father's  princi 
ples.  From  the  commencement  of  his  career  to  the  close  of  it, 
he  supported  the  cause  of  the  Roman  Catholics. 

The  first  time  that  the  Viscount  Mountjoy  spoke  in  the  House 
of  Lords,  after  having  been  elected  a  representative  peer  for 
Ireland  in  1809,  was  in  favor  of  a  motion  for  the  thanks  of  the 
House  to  Lord  Viscount  Wellington,  and  the  army  under  his 
command,  for  the  victory  of  Talavera  ;  when  Lord  Mountjoy,  in 
reply  to  the  Earl  of  Grosvenor's  opposition  to  the  motion,  said 
that  "  no  general  was  better  skilled  in  war,  none  more  enlight 
ened  than  Lord  Viscount  Wellington.  The  choice  of  a  position 
at  Talavera  reflected  lustre  on  his  talents  ;  the  victory  was  as 
brilliant  and  glorious  as  any  on  record.  It  was  entitled  to  the 
unanimous  approbation  of  their  lordships,  and  the  eternal  grat 
itude  of  Spain  and  of  this  country." 

His  lordship  seldom  attended  his  Parliamentary  duties,  and 
very  seldom  spoke. 

On  the  queen's  trial  in  1820,  in  opposing  the  bill  of  pains  and 
penalties,  Lord  Blessington  spoke  in  vindication  of  the  character 
of  Mr.  Powell  (who  had  been  engaged  in  the  Milan  commission, 
and  was  assistant  solicitor  for  the  bill),  "  and  expressed  much 
regret  that  that  person  had  any  thing  to  do  with  the  Milan  com 
mission." 

John  Allan  Powell,  Esq.,  was  an  intimate  acquaintance  of  the 
Blessingtons. 

The  young  lord's  manners,  deportment,  and  demeanor  were 
all  in  keeping  with  the  qualities  of  his  mind  and  the  amiability 
of  his  disposition.  That  calamity  was  his,  than  which  few 
greater  misfortunes  can  befall  a  young  man  of  large  expecta 
tions — prided,  courted,  flattered  and  beset  by  evil  influences, 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.  45 

the  loss  of  a  father's  care,  his  counsel  and  control  at  the  very 
age  when  these  advantages  are  most  needful  to  youth  and  in 
experience. 

The  taste  of  all  others  which  the  young  nobleman,  on  coming 
into  his  ample  fortune,  gave  himself  up  to,  was  for  the  drama. 

He  patronized  it  liberally,  and  was  allured  into  all  the  pleas 
ures  of  its  society.  The  green-room  and  its  affairs — the  inter 
ests,  and  rivalries,  and  intrigues  of  favorite  actors  and  actresses, 
the  business  of  private  theatricals,  the  providing  of  costly  dresses 
for  them,  the  study  of  leading  parts  for  their  performance  (for 
his  lordship  was  led  to  believe  his  talents  were  of  the  first  order 
for  the  stage),  engaged  the  attention  of  the  young  nobleman  too 
much,  and  gave  a  turn  in  the  direction  of  self-indulgence  to 
talents  originally  good,  and  tastes  naturally  inclined  to  elegance 
and  refinement. 

In  1822,  Byron,  thus  spoke  of  Lord  Blessington  as  he  remem 
bered  him  in  early  life  :  "  Mountjoy  (for  the  Gardiners  are  the 
lineal  race  of  the  famous  Irish  viceroy*  of  that  ilk)  seems  very 
good-natured,  but  is  much  tamed  since  I  recollect  him  in  all  the 
glory  of  gems  and  snuff-boxes,  and  uniforms  and  theatricals, 
sitting  to  Strolling,  the  painter,  to  be  depicted  as  one  of  the  he 
roes  of  Agincourt." 

His  father's  great  fondness  for  him  had  contributed  in  some 
manner  to  the  taste  he  had  acquired  in  very  early  life  for  gor 
geous  ornaments,  gaudy  dresses,  theatrical  costumes,  and  milita 
ry  uniforms.  At  the  period  of  the  volunteering  movement  in 
Ireland,  about  1788  or  1789,  when  the  boy  was  not  above  six  or 
seven  years  of  age,  his  father  had  him  equipped  in  a  complete 
suit  of  volunteer  uniform,  and  presented  him  thus  to  a  great 
concourse  of  people  with  a  diminutive  sword  in  the  poor  child's 
hand,  on  the  occasion  of  a  grand  review  at  Newtown  Stewart,  at 
the  head  of  the  corps  that  was  commanded  by  his  lordship. 

*  The  famous  lord  deputy  to  whom  Byron  alludes  was  a  fierce  marauder  and 
conquistador  in  the  good  old  times  of  raid  and  of  rapine  of  the  good  Queen  Bess. 
Morrison,  an  English  writer  on  Irish  affairs  (fol.  43),  says,  "  Lord  Mountjoy  (the 
deputy)  never  received  any  to  mercy  but  such  as  had  drawn  blood  upon  their  fel 
low-rebels.  Thus  McMahon  and  McArt  both  offered  to  submit,  but  neither  would 
be  received  without  the  other's  head." 


46  NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

His  lordship  had  been  unfortunately  allowed  to  think,  almost 
from  his  boyhood,  that  no  obstacle  stood  between  him  and  the 
gratification  of  his  desires  that  could  not  be  removed  ;  arid  the 
result  was  what  might  be  expected. 

This  evil  tendency  to  self-indulgence  impeded  the  growth  of 
all  powers  of  self-control,  and  nourished  a  disposition  to  unre 
strained  profusion  and  extravagance,  whenever  the  gratification 
of  the  senses  or  allurements  of  pleasure  were  in  question. 

His  lordship,  in  the  latter  part  of  1808  or  the  beginning  of 
1809,  made  the  acquaintance  of  a  lady  of  the  name  of  Browne 
(nee  Campbell),  remarkable  for  her  attractions,  and  indebted  to 
them  chiefly,  if  not  solely,  for  her  distinction. 

The  young  lord  found  some  difficulties  in  the  way  of  the  res 
olution  he  had  formed  of  marrying  this  lady,  but  the  obstacles 
were  removed  ;  and  while  means  were  being  taken  for  their 
removal  and  the  marriage  that  was  to  follow  it,  Warwick  House 
in  Worthing  was  taken  by  his  lordship  for  her  abode,  and  there 
she  resided  for  several  months. 

Mrs.  Browne  belonged  to  a  Scotch  family  of  respectability,  of 
the  name  of  Campbell,  and,  as  I  am  informed,  a  brother  of  hers 
represented  in  Parliament  the  borough  in  which  his  native  place 
was  situated,  and  was  connected  with  a  baronet  of  the  same 
name. 

While  the  residence  was  kept  up  at  Worthing,  another  place 
of  abode  was  occasionally  occupied  in  Portman  Square,  where 
his  son  Charles  John  was  born.  In  1811,  his  lordship  took  a 
house  in  Manchester  Square,  and  there  his  daughter  Emilie 
Rosalie  was  born.  The  following  year  he  removed  to  Seymour 
Place,  where  he  resided  till  the  latter  part  of  1813. 

In  1812,  the  death  of  Major  Browne  (long  expected)  having 
taken  place,  Lord  Mouiitjoy  married  "  Mary  Campbell,  widow 
of  Major  Browne,"  as  we  are  informed  by  the  Peerage. 

Lord  Mountjoy  had  not  long  resided  in  Seymour  Place  when 
he  determined  on  going  on  the  Continent.  The  health  of  Lady 
Mountjoy  must  have  been  at  that  period  impaired.  His  lord 
ship's  friend  and  medical  attendant,  Mr.  Tegart,  of  Pall  Mall, 
recommended  a  young  physician  of  high  character  to  accom- 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 


47 


pany  the  tourists  ;  and  accordingly  Dr.  Richardson,  (an  old  and 
valued  friend  of  the  author's)  proceeded  to  France  with  them. 

The  circumstances  are  to  be  kept  in  mind  of  this,  marriage, 
the  impediment  to  it,  the  waiting  for  the  removal  of  it,  the  ac 
complishment  of  an  object  ardently  desired,  without  reference 
to  future  consequences,  without  any  regard  for  public  opinion, 
or  feelings  of  relatives  ;  the  restlessness  of  his  lordship's  rnind, 
manifested  in  changes  of  abode,  and  the  abandonment  of  his  resi 
dence  in  London  for  the  Continent  soon  after  he  had  married,  arid 
had  gone  to  considerable  expense  in  fitting  up  thatplace  of  abode. 

Lady  Mountjoy  did  not  long  enjoy  the  honors  of  her  elevated 
rank  and  new  position.  She  died  at  St.  Germain's,  in  France, 
the  9th  of  September,  1814.  The  legitimate  issue  of  this  mar 
riage  was,  first,  Lady  Harriet  Anne  Frances  Gardiner,  born  the 
5th  of  August,  1812  (who  married  the  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay  the 
1st  of  December,  1829  ;  and,  secondly,  the  Hon.  Charles  Spencer 
Cowper,  third  son  of  the  late  Earl  Cowper,  the  4th  of  January, 
1853,  the  Count  D'Orsay  having  died  the  4th  of  August,  1  852)  ;* 
second,  the  Right  Hon.  Luke  Wellington,  Viscount  Mountjoy, 
born  in  1814,  who  died  in  1823,  at  the  age  of  nine  years  and 
six  months. 

The  children  of  whom  mention  is  not  made  in  the  Peerage 
were  : 

First,  Charles  John,  born  in  Portman  Square,  London,  the  3d 
of  February,  1810,  now  surviving,  who  retains  a  small  portion 
of  the  Mountjoy  Forest  estate  (the  income  from  which  is  about 
.£600  a  year)  ;  all  that  remains,  with  a  trifling  exception,  of  the 
wreck  of  that  once  vast  property  of  the  Earl  of  Blessington. 

Second, Emilie  Rosalie,  commonly  called  Lady  Mary  Gardiner, 
born  in  Manchester  Square,  London,  on  the  24th  of  June,  1811 
(who  married  C.  White,  Esq.,  and  died  in  Paris  without  issue 
about  1848). 

*  The  Honorable  Charles  Spencer  Cowper  is  the  youngest  son  of  the  late  Earl 
Cowper,  who  married  in  1805  the  Honorable  Emily  Mary  Lamb,  eldest  daughter 
of  Penniston,  first  Viscount  Melbourne.  Lord  Cowper  died  at  Putney  in  June, 
1837.  His  widow  married  secondly  Lord  Palmerston,  in  1839.  The  Honorable 
Charles  Spencer  Cowper,  born  in  1816,  filled  the  office  of  Secretary  of  Legation 
in  Florence. 


48  NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

Lord  Mountjoy's  grief  at  the  loss  of  his  lady  was  manifested 
in  a  funeral  pageant  of  extraordinary  magnificence  on  the  occa 
sion  of  the  removal  of  her  remains  to  England,  and  from  thence 
to  Ireland.  One  of  the  principal  rooms  in  his  lordship's  Dublin 
residence,  in  Henrietta  Street,  was  fitted  up  for  the  mournful 
occasion  at  an  enormous  cost.  The  body,  placed  in  a  coffin, 
sumptuously  decorated,  had  been  conveyed  to  Dublin  by  a  Lon 
don  undertaker  of  eminence  in  the  performance  of  state  funer 
als,  attended  by  six  professional  female  mourners,  suitably  at 
tired  in  mourning  garments,  and  was  laid  out  in  a  spacious  room 
hung  with  black  cloth,  on  an  elevated  catafalque,  covered  with 
a  velvet  pall  of  the  finest  texture,  embroidered  in  gold  and  sil 
ver,  which  had  been  purchased  in  France  for  the  occasion,  and 
had  recently  been  used  at  a  public  funeral  in  Paris  of  great  pomp 
and  splendor,  that  of  Marshal  Duroc.  A  large  number  of  wax 
tapers  were  ranged  round  the  catafalque,  and  the  six  profes 
sional  female  mutes,  during  the  time  the  body  lay  in  state,  re 
mained  in  attendance  in  the  chamber  in  becoming  attitudes, 
admirably  regulated  ;  while  the  London  undertaker,  attired  in 
deep  mourning,  went  through  the  dismal  formality  of  conducting 
the  friends  of  Lord  Blessington  who  presented  themselves  to  the 
place  where  the  body  was  laid  out ;  and  as  each  person  walked 
round  the  catafalque,  and  then  retired,  this  official,  having  per 
formed  the  lugubrious  duties  of  master  of  the  funeral  solemni 
ties,  in  a  low  tone  expressed  a  hope  that  the  arrangements  were 
to  the  satisfaction  of  the  visitor. 

They  ought  to  have  been  satisfactory  ;  the  cost  of  them  (on 
the  authority  of  the  late  Lady  Blessington)  was  between  £3000 
and  £4000. 

The  remains  of  the  deceased  lady  were  conveyed  with  great 
pomp  to  St.  Thomas's  Church,  Marlborough  Street,  Dublin,  and 
were  deposited  in  the  family  vault  of  Lord  Blessington,  and  are 
now  mingled  with  the  dust  of  the  latest  descendants  of  the  il 
lustrious  Lord  President  Mountjoy. 

One  of  the  friends  of  Lord  Blessington,  who  witnessed  the 
gorgeous  funeral  spectacle,  well  acquainted  with  such  pageants, 
informs  me  the  magnificence  of  it  was  greater  than  that  of  any 
pimilnr  performance  of  private  obsequies  he  evor  saw. 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 


49 


But  this  great  exhibition  of  extravagant  grief,  and  the  enor 
mous  outlay  made  for  its  manifestation,  was  in  the  bright  and 
palrny  days  of  Irish  landlordism,  when  potatoes  flourished,  and 
people  who  had  land  in  Ireland  lived  like  princes.  The  Scotch 
haberdasher  who  now  lords  it  over  a  portion  of  the  broad  lands 
of  the  Mountjoys  will  live,  however,  and  bury  his  dead  after  a 
very  different  fashion. 

The  once  gorgeous  coffin,  covered  with  rich  silk  velvet  and 
adorned  with  gilt  mounting,  in  which  the  remains  of  the  "  Right 
Hon.  Mary  Campbell,  Viscountess  Mountjoy,"  were  deposited,  is 
still  recognizable  by  its  foreign  shape  from  the  other  surrounding 
receptacles  of  noble  remains  above  it  and  beneath  it.  But  the 
fine  silk  velvet  of  France,  and  the  gilt  mountings  of  the  coffin  of 
the  Viscountess  Mountjoy,  have  lost  their  lustre.  Forty  years  of 
sepulchral  damp  and  darkness  have  proved  too  much  for  the  costly 
efforts  of  the  noble  Earl  of  Blessington  to  distinguish  the  remains 
of  his  much-loved  lady  from  those  of  the  adjacent  dead. 

About  the  latter  part  of  1815  Lord  Blessington  was  in  Ireland. 
He  gave  a  dinner-party  at  his  house  in  Henrietta  Street,  which 
was  attended  by  several  gentlemen,  among  whom  were  the 
Knight  of  Kerry,  A.  Hume,  Esq.,  Thomas  Moore,  Sir  P.  C.,  Bart., 
James  Corry,  Esq.,*  Captain  Thomas  Jenkins,  of  the  llth  Light 
Dragoons,  and  one  or  two  ladies.  His  lordship,  on  that  occasion, 
seemed  to  have  entirely  recovered  his  spirits  ;  and  to  one  of  the 
guests,  who  had  not  been  in  the  house  or  the  room,  then  the 
scene  of  great  festivity,  since  the  funeral  solemnities  which  have 
been  referred  to  had  been  witnessed  by  him  there  less  than  two 
years  previously,  the  change  seemed  a  very  remarkable  one. 
Captain  Jenkins  left  the  company  at  an  early  hour,  to  proceed 
that  evening  to  England,  and  parted  with  his  friends,  not  with 
out  very  apparent  feelings  of  emotion. 

*  James  Corry,  Esq.,  who  figures  a  good  deal  in  Moore's  Journals,  was  a  bar 
rister,  whose  bag  had  never  been  encumbered  with  many,  I  believe  I  might  say 
with  any,  briefs.  He  was  admitted  to  the  bar  in  1796.  For  many  years  he  filled 
the  office  of  Secretary  to  the  Trustees  of  the  Linen  Manufacture,  in  their  offices 
in  Lurgan  Street.  He  was  a  man  of  wit  and  humor,  assisted  in  all  the  private 
theatricals  of  his  time,  not  only  in  Dublin,  but  in  the  provinces,  and  particularly 
those  at  the  abodfc  of  LoYd  Mduntjoy  at  Rash,  near  Omagh. 

Voi.  I.— C 


50       NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

Lord  Mount] oy  did  not  long  remain  a  widower.  His  lady  died 
in  September,  1814,  and  on  the  16th  of  February,  1818,  his 
lordship  was  united  to  a  lady  of  the  name  of  Farmer,  who  had 
become  a  widow  four  months  previously — in  1817. 

The  marriage  of  Lord  and  Lady  Blessington  took  place  by  spe 
cial  license,  at  the  church  in  Bryanston  Square.  There  were 
present  Sir  \V.  P.  Campbell,  Baronet,  of  Marchmont,  William 
Purves,  Esq.,  Robert  Power,  Esq.,  and  F.  S.  Pole,  Esq. 

This  work  is  not  intended  to  be  a  biography  of  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  but  to  present  a  faithful  account  of  her  literary  life  and  cor 
respondence. 

From  the  period  of  her  marriage  with  the  Earl  of  Blessington, 
that  intercourse  with  eminent  men  and  distinguished  persons  of 
various  pursuits  may  be  said  to  date  ;  and  from  that  period  I 
profess  to  deal  with  it,  so  far  as  the  information  I  have  obtained, 
and  the  original  letters  and  manuscripts  of  her  ladyship  in  my 
hands,  will  enable  me  to  do. 

Mrs.  Farmer  had  been  separated  from  her  husband,  Captain 
Maurice  St.  Leger  Farmer,  of  Poplar  Hall,  county  Kildare,  for 
upward  of  twelve  years,  resided  much  in  England,  at  Sidmanton, 
in  Hampshire,  for  several  years  previously  to  the  termination  of 
the  war,  and  in  the  latter  part  of  1815  had  made  London  her 
place  of  residence,  and  had  a  house  taken  for  her  in  Manchester 
Square  in  1816.* 

Lord  Mountjoy's  second  marriage  was  entered  into  after  an 
acquaintance  that  had  commenced  may  years  previously  in  Ire 
land,  and  had  been  long  interrupted. 

The  lady  of  his  love  was  then  twenty-eight  years  of  age,  in 
the  perfection  of  matured  beauty — that  bright  and  radiant  beauty 
which  derives  its  power  not  so  much  from  harmony  of  features 

*  There,  in  1810,  I  am  informed  by  one  of  the  most  eminent  medical  men  in 
London,  he  had  met  Lord  Blessington  at  dinner.  I  have  likewise  been  informed 
by  the  late  Mr.  Arthur  Tegart,  of  Pall  Mall,  then  intimately  acquainted  with  the 
parties,  that  he  also  had  frequently  met  Lord  Blessington  at  Mrs.  Farmer'.s,  but 
never  unaccompanied  by  some  mutual  friend  or  acquaintance.  Mr.  Tegart,  the 
intimate  and  medical  attendant  of  Curran,  Grattan,  and  Ponsonby,  a  gentleman 
most  highly  respected  by  all  who  knew  him,  and  by  none  more  than  the  writer  of 
these  lines,  died  in  1829,  in  his  sixty-ninth  year. 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.       5^ 

and  symmetry  of  form,  as  from  the  animating  influences  of  in 
telligence  beaming  forth  from  a  mind  full  of  joyous  and  of  kindly 
feelings  and  of  brilliant  fancies — that  kind  of  vivid  loveliness 
which  is  never  found  where  some  degree  of  genius  is  not.  Her 
form  was  exquisitely  moulded,  with  an  inclination  to  fullness ; 
but  no  finer  proportions  could  be  imagined  ;  her  movements 
were  graceful  and  natural  at  all  times,  in  her  merriest  as  well 
as  in  her  gravest  moods. 

The  peculiar  character  of  Lady  Blessington's  beauty  seemed 
to  be  the  entire,  exact,  and  instantaneous  correspondence  of  ev 
ery  feature,  and  each  separate  trait  of  her  countenance,  with  the 
emotion  of  her  mind,  which  any  particular  subject  of  conversa 
tion  or  object  of  attention  might  excite.  The  instant  a  joyous 
thought  took  possession  of  her  fancy,  you  saw  it  transmitted  as 
if  by  electrical  agency  to  her  glowing  features ;  you  read  it  in 
her  sparkling  eyes,  her  laughing  lips,  her  cheerful  looks  ;  you 
heard  it  expressed  in  her  ringing  laugh,  clear  and  sweet  as  the 
gay,  joy-bell  sounds  of  childhood's  merriest  tones. 

There  was  a  geniality  in  the  warmth  of  her  Irish  feelings,  an 
abandonment  of  all  care,  of  all  apparent  consciousness  of  her 
powers  of  attraction,  a  glowing  sunshine  of  good  humor,  and 
of  good  nature  in  the  smiles  and  laughter,  and  the  sallies  of  the 
wit  of  this  lovely  woman  in  her  early  and  her  happy  days  (those 
of  her  Italian  life,  especially  from  1823  to  1826),  such  as  have 
been  seldom  surpassed  in  the  looks,  gesture,  or  expression  of  any 
other  person,  however  beautiful.  The  influence  of  her  attrac 
tion  was  of  that  kind  described  by  the  poet : 

"  When  the  loveliest  expression  to  features  are  joined, 
By  nature's  most  delicate  pencil  designed, 
And  blushes  unbidden,  and  smiles  without  art, 
Speak  the  softness  and  feeling  that  dwell  in  the  heart." 
Her  voice  was  ever  sweetly  modulated  and  low — "  an  excellent 
thing  in  woman  !"    Its  tones  were  always  in  harmonious  concord 
with  the  traits  of  her  expressive  features.    There  was  a  cordial 
ity,  a  clear,  silver-toned  hilarity,  a  correspondence  in  them,  ap 
parently  with   all  her  sensations,  that  made  her  hearers  feel 
"  she  spoke  to  them  with  every  part  of  her  being,"  and  that 


52       NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

their  communication  was  with  a  kindly-hearted,  genial  person, 
of  womanly  feelings  and  sentiments.  The  girlish-like  joyous- 
ness  of  her  laugh,  the  genuine  gaycty  of  her  heart,  of  her  "petit 
risfollatre"  the  eclats  of  those  Jordan-like  outbursts  of  exuber 
ant  mirthfulness  which  she  was  wont  to  indulge  in — contribu 
ted  not  a  little  to  her  power  of  fascination.  All  the  beauty  of  La 
dy  Blessington,  without  the  exquisite  sweetness  of  her  voice, 
and  the  witchery  of  its  tones  in  pleasing  or  expressing  pleasure, 
would  have  been  only  a  secondary  attraction. 

Mirabeau,  in  one  of  his  letters,  descants  on  the  perfections  of  a 
French  lady — unc  dame  spirituelle,  of  great  powers  of  attraction  : 

"  "When  she  talks,  she  is  the  art  of  pleasing  personified.  Her 
eyes,  her  lips,  her  words,  her  gestures,  are  all  prepossessing ; 
her  language  is  the  language  of  amiableness  ;  her  accents  are 
the  accents  of  grace  ;  she  embellishes  a  trifle  ;  interests  upon 
nothing;  she  softens  a  contradiction;  she  takes  off  the  insipid 
ity  of  a  compliment  by  turning  it  elegantly  ;  and  when  she  has 
a  mind,  she  sharpens  and  polishes  the  point  of  an  epigram  bet 
ter  than  all  the  women  in  the  world. 

"  Her  eyes  sparkle  with  pleasure  ;  the  most  delightful  sallies 
flash  from  her  fancy  ;  in  telling  a  story  she  is  inimitable — the 
motions  of  her  body  and  the  accents  of  her  tongue  are  equally 
genteel  and  easy  ;  an  equable  flow  of  sprightliness  keeps  her 
constantly  good-humored  and  cheerful,  and  the  only  objects  of 
her  life  are  to  please  and  be  pleased.  Her  vivacity  may  some 
times  approach  to  folly,  but  perhaps  it  is  not  in  her  moments  of 
folly  she  is  least  interesting  and  agreeable." 

Mirabeau  goes  on  enlarging  on  one  particular  faculty  which 
she  possessed,  and  for  which  she  was  remarkable,  beyond  all 
comparison  with  other  women — a  power  of  intellectual  excita 
tion  which  roused  up  any  spark  of  talent  in  the  minds  of  those 
around  her : 

"  She  will  draw  wit  from  a  fool ;  she  strikes  with  such  address 
the  chords  of  self-love,  that  she  gives  unexpected  vigor  and  agil 
ity  to  fancy,  and  electrifies  a  body  that  appears  non-electric."* 

*  Mirabeau's  Letters  during  his  residence  in  England,  translated,  in  2  vols. 
London,  1832. 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.       53 

Lady  Blessington  might  have  sat  for  the  portrait  of  the  spir 
itual  French  woman  that  Mirabeau  has  sketched  with  so  much 
animation ! 

Soon  after  their  marriage,  Lord  Blessington  took  his  bride 
over  to  Ireland,  to  visit  his  Tyrone  estates  ;  but  that  was  not 
the  first  occasion  of  the  lady's  visit  to  Mountjoy  Forest. 

The  marriage  had  been  so  far  kept  a  secret  that  many  of 
Lord  Blessington's  friends  were  not  aware  of  it  at  the  time  of 
his  arrival  in  Dublin.  He  invited  some  of  those  with  whom  he 
was  most  intimately  acquainted  to  a  dinner  at  his.  house  in 
Henrietta  Street.* 

Some  of  those  first  mentioned  were  only  made  acquainted  with 
the  recent  marriage  when  Lord  Blessington  entered  the  drawing- 
room  with  a  lady  of  extraordinary  beauty,  and  in  bridal  costume, 
leaning  on  his  arm,  whom  he  introduced  as  Lady  Blessington. 

Among  the  guests,  there  was  one  gentleman  who  had  been 
in  that  room  only  four  years  before,  when  the  walls  were  hung 
in  black,  and  in  the  centre,  on  an  elevated  platform,  was  place'd 
a  coffin,  with  a  gorgeous  velvet  pall,  with  the  remains  in  it  of  a 
woman,  once  scarcely  surpassed  in  loveliness  by  the  lady  then 
present — radiant  in  beauty,  and  decked  out  in  rich  attire — all  in 
white,  in  bridal  costume.  Stranger  events  and  more  striking 
contrasts  are  often  to  be  encountered  in  brilliant  circles  and  in 
noble  mansions  than  are  to  be  met  with  even  in  books  of  fiction. 

The  Blessingtons  proceeded  from  Dublin  to  the  county  of  Ty 
rone  ;  but  preparations  were  previously  made  by  his  lordship 
for  the  reception  of  his  bride  at  Mountjoy  Forest  of  a  most  costly 
description. 

*  The  Gardiner  family  owned  the  fee  simple  of  the  whole  street  nearly,  and 
the  house  No.  10,  at  the  west  end,  and  north  side  of  Henrietta  Street,  which  now 
constitutes  the  Queen's  Inns  Chambers,  formerly  held  by  the  Right  Honorable 
Luke  Gardiner,  Lord  Mountjoy,  and  subsequently  in  the  possession  of  the  late 
Right  Honorable  Charles  John,  Earl  of  Blessington.  The  house  was  sold  in  1837 
to  Tristram  Kennedy,  Esq.,  for  £1700.  Immediately  in  front  of  Lord  Blessing- 
ton's  abode,  the  noted  Primate  Boulter  erected  his  palace,  which  he  makes  men 
tion  of  in  his  letters.  The  worthy  primate  wanted  only  the  scholarship  and  mu 
nificence  of  Wolsey,  and  the  great  intellectual  powers  and  political  wisdom  of 
Richelieu,  to  be  a  very  distinguished  temporally-minded  churchman,  and  unspir- 
itualized  sacerdotal  statesman. 


54       NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

Speaking  of  these  extravagant  arrangements  of  her  husband, 
Lady  Blessington  has  observed  in  one  of  her  works,  "  The  only 
complaint  I  ever  have  to  make  of  his  taste  is  its  too  great  splen 
dor  ;  a  proof  of  which  he  gave  me  when  I  went  to  Mountjoy 
Forest  on  my  marriage,  and  found  my  private  sitting-room  hung 
with  crimson  Genoa  silk  velvet,  trimmed  with  gold  bullion 
fringe,  and  all  the  furniture  of  equal  richness — a  richness  that 
was  only  suited  to  a  state-room  in  a  palace."* 

Some  of  the  frieze-coated  peasantry  of  the  Mountjoy  Forest 
estate,  still  surviving  on  the  wrecked  property  (that  has  lately 
gone  through  the  Encumbered  Estates  Court),  but  now  living  in 
penury  in  wretched  hovels,  who  remember  the  great  doings  in 
the  house  of  their  lord  on  the  occasion  referred  to,  speak  of  "  the 
wonderful  doings"  of  his  lordship,  and  of  "  the  terrible  waste  of 
money,"  and  "  the  great  folly  of  it,"  that  was  witnessed  by  them. 

Folly,  indeed,  there  were  abundant  proofs  of,  in  the  lavish 
expenditure,  which  Lady  Blessington  attributed  to  rather  too 
great  a  taste  for  splendor.  I  consider  these  things  as  evidence 
of  a  state  of  insanity  of  Lord  Blessington,  partially  developed, 
even  at  the  early  period  referred  to,  manifested  subsequently  on 
different  occasions,  but  always  pointing  in  one  direction.  The 
acts  of  Lord  Blessington  on  several  occasions,  in  matters  con 
nected  with  both  his  marriages,  it  always  appeared  were  the 
acts  of  a  man  of  an  unsound  judgment,  that  is  to  say,  of  a  man 
insane  on  subjects  which  he  had  allowed  to  obtain  entire  pos 
session  of  his  mind,  and  with  respect  to  objects  which  he  had 
devoted  all  his  energies  to  attain,  wholly  irrespective  of  future 
consequences. 

At  the  time  of  Lord  Blessington's  marriage,  his  fortune  was 
embarrassed  to  some  extent,  as  he  imagined,  through  the  mis 
management  of  his  agents,  but,  in  point  of  fact,  by  his  lordship's 
own  extravagances,  and  the  numerous  encumbrances  with  which 
he  had  already  charged  his  estates. 

It  was  owing,  in  no  small  degree,  to  Lady  Blessington's  ad 
vice,  and  the  active  steps  she  had  caused  his  lordship  to  take  for 
the  retrieval  of  his  affairs,  that  his  difficulties  were  to  some  ex- 

*  The  Idler  in  France,  vol.  i.,  p.  117. 


NOTICE  OF  THE' EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.  55 

tent  diminished,  and  his  rental  increased  considerably.  From 
£30,000  a  year  it  had  decreased  to  £23,000  or  £24,000  ;  but 
for  two  years  previously  to  his  departure  from  England  it  rath 
er  exceeded  that  amount. 

I  visited  several  of  the  surviving  tenants  of  Lord  Blessington, 
still  living  on  the  Mountjoy  estate,  near  Armagh,  in  March,  1845. 
All  concurred  in  one  statement,  that  a  better  landlord,  a  kinder 
man  to  the  poor,  never  existed  than  the  late  Lord  Blessington. 
A  tenant  was  never  evicted  by  him  ;  he  never  suffered  the  ten 
ants  to  be  distressed  by  an  agent,  however  much  in  need  he 
might  stand  of  money  ;  he  would  not  suffer  them  to  be  pressed 
for  rent,  to  be  proceeded  against,  or  ejected.  Graham,  one  of 
the  oldest  and  most  respectable  tenants  on  the  estate,  says  he 
is  aware  of  his  lordship,  at  a  period  when  he  was  in  great  want 
of  money,  having  written  to  the  agent  not  to  press  the  tenants 
too  much,  even  for  arrears  that  had  been  long  due  ;  that,  rather 
than  they  should  be  dealt  harshly  with,  he  would  endeavor  to 
obtain  money  on  mortgage  in  London  ;  and  Graham  adds,  the 
money  his  lordship  then  required  was  thus  obtained  by  him. 
"  He  took  after  his  father  in  this  respect.  He  looked  on  his  ten 
ants  as  if  he  was  bou?id  to  see  they  suffered  no  injury  at  the  hands 
of  any  person  acting  for  him  on  his  estate." 

The  residence  of  the  father  of  the  late  Lord  Blessington,  on 
the  Mountjoy  Forest  estate  in  Tyrone,  was  on  the  town  land  of 
Rash,  near  the  "  Church  of  Cappagh,"  on  the  opposite  side  of 
the  river,  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  from  the  cottage  residence 
to  which  Lord  Blessington  subsequently  removed. 

The  Dowager  Lady  Mountjoy  resided  at  Rash  for  some  years 
after  the  death  of  her  husband  in  1798. 

And  here,  also,  prior  to  1814,  the  late  Lord  Blessington  re 
sided  when  he  visited  his  Tyrone  estates  ;  and  about  1807,  ex 
pended  a  great  deal  of  money  in  enlarging  the  offices,  building 
an  extensive  kitchen  and  wine-cellars,  and  erecting  a  spacious 
and  elegantly  decorated  theatre,  and  providing  "  properties," 
and  a  suitable  wardrobe  of  magnificent  theatrical  dresses  for  it. 

The  professional  actors  and  actresses  were  brought  down  by 
his  lordship,  for  the  private  theatricals  at  Mountjoy  Forest,  from 


56  NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

Dublin,  and  some  even  from  London.  But  there  were  amateur 
performers  also,  and  two  of  the  old  tenants  remember  seeing  his 
lordship  act  "  some  great  parts  ;"  but  what  they  were,  or  wheth 
er  of  a  tragic  or  a  comic  nature,  they  can  not  say  ;  they  only 
know  "  he  was  thought  a  fine  actor,  and  the  dresses  he  wore 
were  very  grand  and  fine." 

The  ladies  who  acted  were  always  actresses  from  the  Dublin 
theatres,  and  during  the  performances  at  Rash,  his  lordship  had 
them  lodged  at  the  house  of  the  school-mistress,  in  the  demesne 
near  the  avenue  leading  to  the  house. 

The  "  quality"  who  came  down  and  remained  at  Rash  during 
the  performances,  which  generally  lasted  for  three  or  four  weeks 
each  year,  were  entertained  with  great  hospitality  by  his  lord 
ship. 

The  expenditure  was  profuse  in  the  extreme  for  their  enter 
tainment,  arid  the  fitting  up  and  furnishing  of  places  of  tempo 
rary  accommodation  for  them  during  their  brief  sojourn. 

The  dwelling-house  of  Rash  was  more  a  large  cottage,  with 
some  remains  of  an  older  structure,  than  a  nobleman's  mansion. 

Moore,  in  his  Diary,  September  1 1th,  1832,  alludes  to  the  the 
atricals  of  Lord  Blessington,  but  without  specifying  time  or  place. 
He  refers  to  a  conversation  with  Corry  about  the  theatricals  of 
his  lordship.  "  A  set  of  mock  resolutions,  one  of  which  wras  the 
following,  chiefly  leveled  at  Crampton,  who  was  always  imper 
fect  in  his  part — *  That  every  gentleman  shall  be  at  liberty  to 
avail  himself  of  the  words  of  the  author  in  case  his  own  inven 
tion  fails  him.'  " 

These  theatricals  were  at  Rash,  in  Tyrone. 

To  an  inquiry  addressed  to  Sir  P.  C on  the  subject  of 

these  theatricals,  I  received  a  note  informing  me  he  had  never 
heard  of  any  theatricals  in  Dublin  got  up  by  the  Blessingtons, 
and  that,  if  there  had  been  any  such  there,  he  must  have  heard 
of  it,  nor  was  he  the  person  alluded  to  in  the  mock  resolutions ; 
"  he  had  neither  hand,  act,  nor  part  in  theatricals  of  any  descrip 
tion."  The  observation  might  possibly  allude,  for  any  thing  he 
knew  to  the  contrary,  to  a  brother,  who  had  been  dead  many 
years. 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.  57 

The  taste  for  theatricals  survived  the  theatre  in  Mountjoy 
Forest.  In  June,  1817,  Lord  Blessington  took  a  leading  part  in 
the  public  entertainment  and  testimonial  given  to  John  Philip 
Kemble  on  his  retirement  from  the  stage.  At  the  meeting 
which  took  place  at  the  Freemasons'  Tavern,  when  a  piece  of 
plate  was  presented  to  Kemble,  Lord  Holland  presided  ;  on  his 
right  hand  sat  Mr.  Kemble,  and  on  his  left  the  Duke  of  Bedford. 
Lords  Blessington,  Erskine,  Mulgrave,  Aberdeen,  Essex,  and 
many  other  noblemen  were  present ;  and  among  the  literary  and 
artistic  celebrities  were  Moore,  Campbell,  Rogers,  Croker,  and 
the  great  French  tragedian,  Talma.  Lord  Blessington  assisted 
also  in  the  well-known  Kilkenny  theatricals.  He  took  parts 
which  required  to  be  gorgeously  appareled  ;  on  one  occasion, 
he  played  the  part  of  the  Green  Knight,  in  "  Valentine  and  Orson." 

The  theatricals  at  Rash  lasted  from  1808  to  1812.  The  first 
Lady  Blessington  was  there  during  one  season,  and  remained 
for  several  months. 

The  period  selected  for  the  theatricals  at  Rash  was  usually 
the  shooting  season.  But  the  guests  were  not  confined  to  sports 
men  ;  the  latter  came  occasionally  accompanied  by  their  ladies, 
and  what  with  their  field-sports  and  the  stage  amusements, 
there  was  no  dearth  of  enjoyments  and  gayety  for  a  few  weeks 
in  a  place  that  all  the  rest  of  the  year  was  a  dull,  solitary,  life 
less  locality,  in  the  midst  of  a  forest  some  fourscore  miles  from 
the  metropolis. 

The  second  Lady  Blessington  did  not  visit  Mountjoy  Forest 
during  the  period  of  the  theatricals.  It  was  the  peculiarity  of 
Lord  Blessington  to  throw  himself  with  complete  abandon  into 
any  passion  or  pursuit  that  came  in  his  way,  and  to  spare  no  ex 
pense  or  sacrifice  of  any  kind  to  obtain,  as  soon  as  possible,  the 
fullest  enjoyment  that  could  possibly  be  derived  from  it ;  and 
110  sooner  was  the  object  so  ardently  desired  accomplished,  the 
expense  encountered,  and  the  sacrifice  made  for  its  attainment, 
than  the  zest  for  its  delight  was  gone  ;  other  phantoms  of  pleas 
ure  were  to  be  pursued,  and  no  sooner  grasped  than  to  be  relin 
quished  for  some  newer  objects  of  desire. 

The  delights  of  the  chase  in  Mountjoy  Forest,  and  of  the  the- 


58  NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

atre  at  Rash,  after  a  few  years,  became  dull,  tame,  and  tiresome 
amusements  to  the  young  lord.  He  went  to  England,  contract 
ed  engagements  there  which  led  to  his  making  London  princi 
pally  his  place  of  abode,  and  Mountjoy  Forest  and  the  theatre 
at  Rash  were  allowed  to  go  to  ruin. 

The  Dowager  Lady  Mountjoy  had  left  Rash,  and  fixed  her 
abode  in  Dublin  prior  to  1807.  The  house  became  in  a  short 
time  so  dilapidated  as  to  be  unfit  to  live  in.  His  lordship  gave 
directions  to  have  extensive  repairs  and  additions  made  to  a 
thatched  house  of  middle  size,  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  distant 
from  Rash.  The  furniture  was  removed  to  this  place,  which 
Lord  Blessingtoii  called  "  the  Cottage,"  arid  the  old  home  at 
Rash  was  left  to  go  to  ruin. 

When  I  visited  the  place  recently,  nothing  remained  but  some 
vestiges  of  the  kitchen  and  the  cellars.  The  theatre  had  utter 
ly  disappeared,  and  nothing  could  be  more  desolate  than  the  site 
of  it.  The  grounds  and  garden  had  been  broken  up,  the  trees 
had  been  all  cut  down  in  the  vicinity.  Here  and  there,  trunks 
and  branches,  yet  unremoved,  were  lying  on  the  ground.  The 
stumps  of  the  felled  trees,  in  the  midst  of  the  debris  of  scattered 
timber,  gave  an  unpleasant  and  uncouth  aspect  to  a  scene  that 
had  some  melancholy  interest  in  it  for  one  who  had  known  the 
noble  owner  of  this  vast  property. 

The  extent  of  the  estate  appears  almost  incredible  ;  I  am  told 
its  extreme  length  exceeded  ten  miles. 

But  though  the  theatre  erected  by  Lord  Blessington  on  his  es 
tate  has  wholly  disappeared,  one  structure  on  it  exists  :  a  vault 
beneath  the  chancel  of  the  church  of  Cappagh,  on  the  estate, 
which  he  intended  for  his  tomb,  and  which,  in  several  notices  of 
his  lordship's  death,  and  some  memoirs  of  Lady  Blessington,  is 
erroneously  stated  to  have  been  the  place  of  sepulture  of  his  re 
mains.  \  was  misled  by  those  accounts,  and  visited  the  vault, 
in  the  expectation  of  finding  his  remains  there.  But  no  inter 
ment  had  ever  taken  place  there,  though  it  was  constructed  by 
his  lordship  with  the  intention  above-mentioned  ;  and  at  his 
death,  orders  had  been  sent  down  from  Dublin  to  have  the  vault 
prepared  for  his  interment :  these  orders,  however,  had  been 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.  59 

countermanded,  for  what  reason  I  know  not,  and  the  remains  of 
his  lordship  were  deposited  in  St.  Thomas's  Church,  in  Marl- 
borough  Street,  along  with  the  remains  of  his  father. 

It  has  been  also  erroneously  stated  that  the  remains  of  his 
lordship's  first  wife  were  deposited  in  the  vault  beneath  the 
chancel  of  Cappagh  Church  ;  such,  however,  is  not  the  fact. 

In  September,  1816,  Lord  Blessingtoii  visited  his  estate  of 
Mountjoy  Forest.  His  first  wife  had  been  then  dead  nearly  two 
years.  He  brought  down  some  friends  of  his  from  Dublin,  and 
invited  others  from  the  neighborhood  of  his  estate  to  come  on  a 
visit  to  "  the  Cottage." 

Among  the  guests,  I  was  informed  by  tenant  farmers  on  the 
estates  who  have  a  recollection  of  these  circumstances,  were 
Mr.«Corry,  Major  and  Mrs.  Purvis,  Colonel  Stewart  of  Killymoon, 
Mrs.  Farmer,  and  also  Captain  Jenkins.* 

The  most  extravagant  expense  was  gone  into  in  fitting  up 
and  decorating  the  Cottage  for  some  weeks  previously  to  the 
arrival  of  his  lordship  and  his  guests. 

The  walls  were  hung  with  costly  drapery.  The  stairs  and 
passages  were  covered  with  fine  baize.  Nothing  could  exceed 
the  elegance  of  the  decorations,  and  furnishing  of  an  abode  that 
was  destined  only  for  a  residence  of  a  few  weeks. 

During  the  sojourn  of  Lord  Blessingtoii  and  his  friends  at  the 
Cottage,  several  gentlemen  of  the  neighborhood  were  enter 
tained. 

Among  the  visitors  was  an  old  clergyman,  Father  O'Flagher- 
ty,  parish  priest  of  Cappagh,  a  simple-minded,  good  man,  who 
was  the  dispenser  of  the  bounty  of  Lord  Blessingtoii  among  the 
poor  of  the  estate,  long  subsequently  to  this  visit,  to  a  very  large 
amount. 

Lord  Blessington  had  no  sec-tarian  feelings — it  never  entered 
his  mind  what  the  religion  of  a  man  was  by  whom  assistance 
was  needed  ;  and  his  worthy  Roman  Catholic  almoner,  although 
a  man  by  no  means  highly  cultivated,  polished  in  his  manners, 
or  peculiarly  happy  in  his  style  of  epistolary  correspondence,  en- 

*  A  Capt.  Montgomery,  of  the  Navy,  a  very  intimate  friend  of  the  Blessingtons, 
at  some  period  was  on  a  visit  to  the  Cottage,  but  the  precise  date  I  do  not  know. 


60  NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

joyed  the  full  confidence  and  strong  regard  of  Lord  Blessington, 
and  also  of  his  lady. 

Lady  Blessington,  on  her  subsequent  visit,  was  the  means  of 
procuring  for  her  great  favorite,  Father  O'Flagherty,  a  donation 
from  his  lordship  that  enabled  the  good  padre  either  to  repair 
or  rebuild  the  Catholic  place  of  worship  of  his  parish.  He  con 
tinued  to  correspond  with  the  Blessingtons  when  they  resided 
in  London,  and  for  some  time  while  they  were  on  the  Continent, 
and  the  epistles  of  the  good  old  man  were  very  great  literary 
curiosities. 

In  1823,  Lord  Blessington,  unaccompanied  by  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  visited  his  Tyrone  estates  ;  he  came  to  the  Cottage  accom 
panied  by  Colonel  Stewart  of  Killymoon. 

In  1825,  his  lordship  again  and  for  the  last  time  visited  his 
Tyrone  estates.  He  was  accompanied  then  by  General  Count 
D'Orsay,  the  father  of  the  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay ,  and  also  by  a 
young  French  nobleman,  the  Count  Leon. 

From  some  cause  or  other,  Lady  Blessington  appeared  to  have 
formed  a  strong  antipathy,  on  the  occasion  of  her  last  visit,  to 
Mountjoy  Forest  as  a  place  of  residence  even  for  a  few  weeks. 
She  prevailed  on  Lord  Blessington  to  return  to  London,  perhaps 
earlier  than  he  had  intended,  and  expressed  her  determination 
never  again  to  return  to  Mountjoy  Forest,  if  she  could  help  it. 

After  a  few  weeks  spent  in  Tyrone,  the  Blessingtons  returned 
to  London.  The  new-married  lady,  having  exchanged  her  abode 
in  Manchester  Square  for  the  noble  mansion  in  St.  James's 
Square,  found  herself  suddenly,  as  if  by  the  magic  wand  of  an 
enchanter,  surrounded  by  luxuries,  gorgeous  furniture,  glittering 
ornaments,  and  pomp  and  state  almost  regal.  The  transition 
was  at  once  from  seclusion  arid  privacy,  a  moderate  establish 
ment,  and  inexpensive  mode  of  life,  into  brilliant  society,  mag 
nificence,  and  splendor — to  a  condition,  in  short,  little  inferior  to 
that  of  any  lady  in  the  land. 

The  eclat  of  the  beauty  of  Lady  Blessington  and  of  her  re 
markable  mental  qualities,  of  the  rare  gifts  and  graces  with 
which  she  was  so  richly  endowed,  was  soon  extensively  diffused 
over  the  metropolis. 


NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON.  (jl 

Moore,  in  his  Diary  of  April,  1822,  mentions  visiting  the  Bless- 
ingtons  in  London  at  their  mansion  in  St.  James's  Square. 
The  fifth  of  the  month  following,  he  says  he  called,  with  Wash 
ington  Irving,  at  Lady  Blessington's,  "  who  is  growing  very  ab 
surd  !  '  I  have  felt  very  melancholy  and  ill  all  this  day,'  she 
said.  '  Why  is  that  ?'  I  asked.  '  Don't  you  know  ?'  '  No.'  '  It 
is  the  anniversary  of  my  poor  Napoleon's  death.' " 

Any  one  acquainted  with  Lady  Blessington  will  perceive  in 
this  remark  a  great  want  of  knowledge  of  her  character  and  opin 
ions,  and  will  not  fail  to  discover  in  her  observation  evidences 
of  that  peculiar  turn  for  grave  irony  which  was  one  of  her  char 
acteristics.  I  have  seldom  met  a  literary  person  so  entirely  free 
from  all  affectation  of  sentimentality  as  Lady  Blessington. 

In  the  new  scenes  of  splendor  and  brilliancy  which  her  lady 
ship  had  been  introduced  into  on  her  marriage  with  Lord  Bless 
ington,  she  seemed  as  if  it  was  her  own  proper  atmosphere,  to 
which  she  had  been  accustomed  from  infancy,  in  which  she  now 
lived  and  moved. 

Greatness  and  magnificence  were  not  thrust  upon  her — she 
seemed  born  to  them.  In  all  positions  she  had  the  great  art  of 
being  ever  perfectly  at  home.  There  was  a  naturalness  in  her 
demeanor,  a  grace  and  gentleness  in  her  mind  and  manner — a 
certain  kindliness  of  disposition  and  absence  of  all  affectation — 
a  noble  frankness  about  her,  which  left  her  in  all  circles  at  her 
ease — sure  of  pleasing,  and  easily  amused  by  agreeable  and 
clever  people. 

In  1818,  when  Lady  Blessington  was  launched  into  fashiona 
ble  life,  and  all  at  once  took  her  place,  if  not  at  the  head  of  it, 
at  least  among  the  foremost  people  in  it,  she  was  twenty-eight 
years  of  age. 

For  three  years,  her  mansion  in  St.  James's  Square,  nightly 
thronged  by  men  of  distinction,  was  the  centre  of  social  and 
literary  enjoyments  of  the  highest  order  in  London.  Holland 
House  had  its  attractions  for  the  graver  spirits  of  the  times,  but 
there  was  no  lack  of  statesmen,  sages,  scholars,  and  politicians 
at  the  conversaziones  of  Lady  Blessington. 

Charleville  House,  too,  had  its  charms  for  well-established  au- 


62       NOTICE  OF  THE  EARL  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

thors — for  blue-stocking  ladies  especially,  of  all  lines  of  author 
ship — for  distinguished  artists  and  noble  amateurs,  for  foreign 
ministers  and  their  attaches. 

But  Lady  Blessington  had  certain  advantages  over  all  Aspa- 
sian  competitors  in  society — she  was  young  and  beautiful,  witty, 
graceful,  and  good-humored  ;  and  these  advantages  told  with 
singular  effect  in  the  salon  ;  they  tended  largely  to  establish  her 
influence  in  society,  and  to  acquire  for  her  conversations  in  it  a 
character  it  might  never  otherwise  have  obtained. 

The  Blessingtons'  splendid  mansion  in  St.  James's  Square  in 
a  short  time  became  the  rendezvous  of  the  elite  of  London  ce 
lebrities  of  all  kinds  of  distinction  ;  the  first  literati,  statesmen, 
artists,  eminent  men  of  all  professions,  in  a  short  time  became 
habitual  visitors  at  the  abode  of  the  new-married  lord  and  lady. 

Among  the  distinguished  foreigners  who  visited  the  Blessing- 
tons  in  St.  James's  Square  in  the  latter  part  of  1821  or  the 
commencement  of  1822,  were  the  Count  de  Grammont  (the  pres 
ent  Due  de  Guiche)  and  his  brother-in-law,  a  young  Frenchman 
of  remarkable  symmetry  of  form  and  comeliness  of  face,  and  of 
address  and  manners  singularly  prepossessing,  the  Count  Alfred 
D'Orsay,  then  in  the  prime  of  life,  highly  gifted,  and  of  varied 
accomplishments,  truly  answering  Byron's  designation  of  him,  a 
"cupidon  dechaine."  The  count's  sojourn  in  London  at  that  time 
was  short ;  but  the  knowledge  he  seems  to  have  gained  of  its 
society,  if  the  account  given  of  his  diary  be  true,  must  have  been 
considerable.  This  was  the  beginning  of  an  intimate  acquaint 
ance  with  the  Blessingtons,  one  in  many  respects  of  great  mo 
ment  to  his  lordship  and  to  others — an  intimacy  which  termi 
nated  only  in  death.* 

Two  royal  English  dukes  condescended,  not  unfrequently,  to 
do  homage  at  the  new  shrine  of  Irish  beauty  and  intellect  in  St. 
James's  Square.  Canning,  Lord  Castlcreagh,  the  Marquis  of 
Lansdowne,  and  Lords  Palmerston  and  Russell,  Burdett  and 
Brougham,  Scarlett  and  Jekyll,  Erskine,  and  many  other  celeb 
rities,  paid  their  devoirs  there.  Whig  and  Tory  politicians  and 

*  This  acquaintance  did  not  commence,  as  it  has  been  generally  asserted,  by 
accident,  in  a  French  hotel,  when  the  Blessingtons  were  on  their  way  to  Italy. 


DEPARTURE  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  FROM  LONDON.  53 

lawyers,  forgetful  of  their  party  feuds  and  professional  rivalries 
for  the  nonce,  came  there  as  gentle  pilgrims.  Kemble  and  Mat 
thews,  Lawrence  and  Wilkie — eminent  divines  too,  Dr.  Parr  and 
others.  Rogers,  Moore,  and  Luttrel  were  among  the  votaries 
who  paid  their  vows  in  visits  there,  not  angel-like,  for  theirs 
were  neither  "  few  nor  far  between."  But  among  all  the  dis 
tinguished  persons  who  visited  Lady  Blessington,  none  were 
more  devoues  in  their  attachment,  or  ardent  in  their  admiration 
of  the  talents  and  traits,  intellectual  and  personal,  of  the  fair 
lady,  than  the  late  Earl  Grey. 


CHAPTER  II. 

DEPARTURE  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  FROM  LONDON  ON  A  CON 
TINENTAL  TOUR,  SEPTEMBER,  1822. 

THE  love  of  change,  of  travel,  of  excitement — the  necessity 
for  distraction,  for  novelty,  and  new  effects,  not  only  in  scenery, 
but  in  society,  seems  to  have  led  to  Lord  Blessingtori's  determ 
ination  to  abandon  his  magnificent  abode  in  St.  James's  Square 
at  a  time  when  nothing  appeared  wanting  that  wealth,  beauty, 
and  brilliant  society  could  supply,  to  render  that  abode  every 
thing  that  could  be  desired  by  those  who  think  such  necessa 
ries  all  that  can  be  desirable  to  make  homes  happy. 

But  Lord  Blessington,  although  yet  a  young  man,  had  drained 
his  cup  of  pleasure  and  enjoyments  of  every  kind  to  the  dregs, 
and  the  taste  of  the  draught  that  remained  on  his  palate  re 
quired  new  cordials,  and  other  stimulants  of  increasing  strength 
continually,  to  keep  down  the  loathing  he  already  felt  for  all  the 
allurements  of  fashion,  the  follies  of  the  day,  the  foil  and  tinsel 
glories  of  the  green-roorn,  and  the  life  behind  the  scenes  of  the 
drama,  arid  of  that  other  theatre  of  society,  with  its  tableaux 
vivants,  arid  its  varied  performances  by  the  real  actors  on  the 
stage  of  aristocratic  life.  Lord  Blessington  was  palled  and  sa 
tiated  with  pleasure,  and  no  kind  of  eclat  or  of  distinction  in 
English  society  had  now  any  charm  for  him.  And  yet  this 
young  nobleman,  thus  early  blaze  and  exhausted,  prematurely 


64  DEPARTURE  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  FROM  LONDON. 

impaired  in  mental  energies,  was  fitted  for  better  things,  and 
was  naturally  amiable,  and  possessed  many  eminent  qualities 
which  might  have  rendered  him,  under  other  circumstances  of 
education  and  position,  a  most  estimable  and  a  very  useful  man 
to  his  country  and  to  society. 

The  22d  of  August,  1822,  the  Blessingtons,  accompanied  by 
Miss  Mary  Ann  Power,  the  youngest  sister  of  Lady  Blessington, 
and  Mr.  Charles  James  Matthews,  the  only  son  of  the  celebrated 
comedian,  set  out  on  a  Continental  tour,  and  made  their  arrange 
ments  for  an  intended  sojourn  of  some  years  in  the  south  of 
Europe. 

Miss  Mary  Ann  Power  was  then  about  one-and-twenty,  bear 
ing  no  resemblance  to  her  sister  in  face  or  form,  but,  neverthe 
less,  far  from  unattractive.  She  was  remarkably  slight,  rather 
of  low  stature,  of  small,  regular  features,  good  complexion,  light 
brown  hair,  always  tastefully  arranged ;  an  extremely  pretty 
and  girlish-looking  young  lady,  with  bluish  laughing  eyes,  and 
altogether  a  piquant  expression  of  countenance,  une  petite  ?nignon, 
pleasingly  original  and  naive  in  her  modes  of  thinking  and  act 
ing,  always  courted  and  complimented  in  society,  and  coquetted 
with  by  gentlemen  of  a  certain  age,  by  humorists  in  single 
blessedness,  especially  like  Gell,  and  by  old  married  bachelors 
like  Lander  and  the  Duke  Laval  de  Montmorency. 

Charles  Matthews  could  hardly  then  have  been  twenty  years 
of  age.  He  had  been  intended  for  the  profession  of  an  archi 
tect,  and  was  articled  to  a  person  of  eminence  in  London  in  that 
profession.  Lord  Blessington  had  kindly  offered  his  father  to 
take  charge  of  the  young  man,  and  to  afford  him  every  facility 
of  pursuing  his  professional  studies  in  Italy.  That  offer  was 
accepted,  and  for  upward  of  two  years  young  Matthews  remain 
ed  with  the  Blessingtons  on  the  Continent,  and  was  no  slight 
acquisition  to  their  party.  A  merrier  man  within  the  limits  of 
becoming  mirth  it  would  be  difficult  to  And.  He  was  an  ad 
mirable  mimic,  had  a  marvelous  facility  in  catching  peculiari 
ties  of  manners,  picking  up  the  different  dialects  of  the  several 
parts  of  Italy  he  passed  through.  But  with  all  his  comic  tal 
ents,  love  of  fun  and  frolic,  ludicrous  fancies,  and  overflowing 


DEPARTURE  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  FROM  LONDON.    65 

gayety  of  heart,  he  never  ceased  to  be  a  gentleman,  and  to  act 
and  feel  like  a  man  well-bred,  well-disposed,  and  well-principled. 

The  writer's  reminiscences  of  Charles  Matthews  are  of  an  old 
date — upward  of  thirty  years  ;  but  they  are  of  too  pleasurable  a 
kind  to  be  easily  effaced. 

In  her  journals  Lady  Blessington  makes  frequent  allusions  to 
her  "  happy  home"  in  St.  James's  Square,  and  at  the  moment 
of  departure,  of  "  the  almost  wish"  she  was  not  going  from  it ; 
and  some  dismal  forebodings  take  the  form  of  exclamations : 
"  What  changes  !  what  dangers  may  come  before  I  again  sleep 
beneath  its  roof!"  Many  changes, indeed,  came  before  she  re 
turned  from  the  Continent.  She  never  beheld  her  husband  be 
neath  that  roof  again ! 

Lord  Blessington's  preparations  in  Paris  for  the  approaching 
touring  campaign  in  Italy  were  of  a  very  formidable  description. 
The  commissariat  department  (including  the  culinary)  was  am 
ply  provided  for  ;  it  could  boast  of  a  battcrie  de  cuisine  on  a  most 
extensive  scale,  which  had  served  an  entire  club,  and  a  cook 
who  had  stood  fire  in  the  kitchen  of  an  emperor.  No  Irish  no 
bleman,  probably,  and  certainly  no  Irish  king,  ever  set  out  on 
his  travels  with  such  a  retinue  of  servants,  with  so  many  vehi 
cles  and  appliances  of  all  kinds  to  ease,  comfort,  and  luxurious 
enjoyment  in  travel. 

Byron's  traveling  equipage,  according  to  Medwin,  when  he 
arrived  in  Florence,  accompanied  by  Rogers,  consisted  of  seven 
servants,  five  carriages,  five  horses,  a  monkey,  a  bull-dog,  and 
a  mastiff",  nine  live  cats,  three  pea-fowls,  and  some  hens ;  his 
luggage,  or  what  Caesar  would  call  "  his  impedimenta,"  consist 
ed  of  ';  a  very  large  library  of  modern  books,  a  vast  quantity  of 
furniture,  "with  trunks  and  portmanteaus  of  apparel — of  course 
to  correspond  to  the  other  parts  of  the  equipage. 

Lord  Blessington  set  out  with  an  abundance  of"  impediments ;" 
but  in  his  live-stock  he  had  no  bull-dogs,  mastifis,  monkeys,  cats, 
pea-fowls,  or  hens. 

On  her  arrival  in  Paris,  Lady  Blessington  mentions  in  her 
diary  receiving  a  visit  from  her  old  friend  the  Baron  Denon,  and 
finding  "  all  her  French  acquaintances  charmed  to  see  her." 


66  DEPARTURE  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  FROM  LONDON. 

Mention  is  made  of  two  previous  visits  of  hers  to  Paris.  Her 
former  sojourn  there  must  have  been  of  some  duration,  and 
previously  to  her  second  marriage  ;  in  her  letters  of  this  period 
we  find  a  familiarity  with  French  idiom,  and  the  conversational 
terms  of  French  society,  which  could  only  have  been  acquired 
by  a  good  deal  of  intercourse  with  French  people  in  their  own 
country. 

In  her  Italian  journal  of  the  31st  of  August,  1822,  she  speaks 
of  her  "  old  friend  the  baron,"  "  a  most  amusing  man,"  "  a  com 
pound  of  savant  and  petit  maitrc,  one  moment  descanting  on 
Egyptian  antiquities,  and  the  next  passing  eulogiums  on  the  joli 
chapcau,  or  robe  of  his  female  visitors,  who  seems  equally  at 
home  in  detailing  the  perfections  of  a  mummy,  or  in  describing 
'  le  mignon  pied  d'  une  charmante  femme,'  and  not  unfrequent- 
ly  turns  from  exhibiting  some  morceau  d'  antiquite  bien  remarqua- 
ble  to  display  a  cast  of  the  exquisite  head  of  Pauline  Borghese."* 

September  1st,  the  diary  opens  with  the  words  "my  birth 
day."  Her  ladyship  could  be  sad  and  sentimental,  but  is  obliged 
to  smile  and  seem  joyful  at  receiving  the  congratulations  of  her 
friends  that  she  had  added  another  year  to  her  age,  and  at  a 
period  of  woman's  life,  too,  when  one  had  passed  thirty. 

During  the  short  sojourn  of  the  Blessingtons  in  Paris,  Tom 
Moore  was  frequently  with  them  at  a  restaurateur's :  Lady 
Blessington  descended  "  La  Montagne  Russe  ;"  but  then  Tom 
Moore  often  visited  the  spot,  and  greatly  enjoyed  her  descent, 
and  it  was  pleasant  to  observe  with  what  a  true  zest  he  entered 
into  every  scheme  of  amusement,  though  the  buoyancy  of  his 
spirits  and  resources  of  his  mind  rendered  him  so  independent 
of  such  means  of  passing  time.f  Lady  Blessington  descants  on 
the  agreeable  excitement  of  the  extreme  velocity  of  this  loco 
motive  amusement ;  but  we  need  not  marvel  at  Tom  Moore's 
true  zest  in  entering  into  it,  accompanied  with  her  ladyship, 
when  we  find  Dr.  Johnson  dwelling  on  the  enjoyment  of  travel 
ing  fast  in  a  post-chaise  with  a  pretty  woman  among  the  great 
pleasures  of  life. 

Perhaps  it  was  one  of  those  rapid  journeys  on  the  "  Montague 

*  The  Idler  in  Italy,  Par.  ed.,  1839,  p.  8.  f  Ibid.,  p.  28. 


DEPARTURE  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  FROM  LONDON.  57 

Russe,"  that  Moore's  conversation  reminded  her  ladyship  "  of 
the  evolutions  of  some  bird  of  gorgeous  plumage,  each  varied 
hue  of  which  becomes  visible  as  he  carelessly  sports  in  the  air.'' 

Xln  her  observations  on  art,  literature,  and  society,  there  are 
ample  evidences  of  originality  of  mind,  of  true  feeling,  of  refined 
taste,  and  an  intimate  acquaintance  with  the  light  literature  of 
France  and  Italy.  Many  of  her  passing  remarks  have  the  merit 
of  those  short  and  memorable  sayings  which  get  the  name  of 
maxims  and  apothegms.  Speaking  of  the  Louvre,  which  she 
had  visited  "  at  least  thirty  times,"  and  that  was  her  third  visit 
to  Paris,  she  found,  "  like  fine  music,  fine  sculptures  and  fine 
pictures  gain  by  long  acquaintance." 

"  There  is  something  that  stirs  the  soul  and  elevates  the  feel 
ings  in  gazing  on  those  glorious  productions  of  master  minds, 
where  genius  has  left  its  ineffaceable  impress  to  bear  witness 
to  posterity  of  its  achievements." 

The  excellence  of  art,  like  every  thing  that  is  exquisite  in 
workmanship  and  spiritual  in  conception,  is  to  be  appreciated 
by  an  intuitive  sense,  that  gives  a  true  perception  of  the  sub 
lime  and  beautiful ;  "  it  is  to  be  felt,  and  not  reasoned  upon." 

In  the  galleries  of  the  Louvre,  she  sickens  of  the  "  cant  of 
criticism,"  she  turns  away  from  the  connoisseurs,  "  to  meditate  in 
silence  on  what  others  can  talk  about,  but  can  not  comprehend." 

"  Here  Claude  Lorraine  seems  to  have  imprisoned  on  canvas 
the  golden  sunshine  in  which  he  bathes  his  landscapes.  There 
Raphael  makes  us,  though  stern  Protestants,  worship  a  Madonna 
and  child,  such  is  the  innocence,  sweetness,  and  beauty  with 
which  he  has  imbued  his  subjects." 

Poor  Lady  Blessington's  "  stern  Protestantism"  is  lugged  in, 
head  and  shoulders,  into  a  criticism  which  really  stood  in  no 
need  of  the  intrusion  of  any  religious  opinions.  Her  faith  in 
Raphael's  perfections  required  no  apology.  In  qualifying  her 
admiration  of  the  exquisite  portraiture  of  innocence,  sweetness, 
and  beauty  of  the  Virgin  and  child,  it  must  have  been  rather 
painful  to  her  (not  a  Protestant)  to  have  to  descend  to  the  cant 
of  criticism,  which  was  so  justly  odious  to  her. 

"While  the  fair  countess  was  absorbed  in  art,  and  occupied 


68  DEPARTURE  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  FROM  LONDON. 

with  the  sublime  and  beautiful,  in  the  most  glorious  works  of 
the  ancient  masters  in  the  Louvre  and  the  gallery  of  Versailles, 
my  lord  was  securing  the  services  of  the  culinary  artist  of  great 
celebrity,  already  referred  to,  who  had  been  the  cook  of  an  em 
peror,  and  providing  a  very  extensive  batterie  dc  cuisine — a  com 
plete  equipage  of  a  cooking  kind,  en  ambulance,  for  their  Italian 
tour. 

After  a  sojourn  of  twelve  days  in  Paris,  the  Blessingtons  and 
their  party  set  out  for  Switzerland. 

The  customary  pilgrimages  were  made  to  Ferney,  the  many 
shrines  at  the  base  of  Mount  Jura,  on  the  borders  of  the  Lake 
of  Geneva,  the  birth-place  and  haunts  of  Rousseau,  the  homes 
for  a  time  of  Gibbon,  Shelley,  Byron,  and  De  Stael,  then  the 
place  of  abode  of  John  Philip  Kemble,  and  a  little  later,  his 
place  of  burial  in  the  cemetery  of  Lausanne.  Several  days  were 
spent  in  visiting  monuments  and  other  marvels  of  Lyons,  Vienne, 
Grenoble,  Valence,  Orange,  and  on  the  20th  of  November  they 
arrived  at  Avignon.  Here  they  remained  till  the  12th  of  Feb 
ruary,  1823,  mixing  a  good  deal  in  the  fashionable  circles  of  the 
town  and  its  environs,  making  frequent  excursions  to  the  cele 
brated  fountain  of  Vanclure,  the  site  of  the  chateau  of  Laura, 
and  visiting  that  of  her  tomb,  in  the  ruins  of  the  Church  of  the 
Cordeliers,  those  of  the  Palace  of  the  Popes,  and  the  Inquisition 
with  all  its  horrors.  Lady  Blessington  speaks  of  the  repug 
nance,  the  feelings  of  "  a  native  of  dear,  free,  happy  England," 
at  the  sight  of  such  a  place,  and  in  the  heat  of  her  abhorrence 
of  the  crimes  committed  in  it,  fancies  herself  a  native  of  England. 

In  her  diary  of  the  20th  of  December,  Lady  Blessington  says, 
"Spent  last  evening  at  Madame  de  C.'s;  met  there  the  Due 

and  Duchess  de  C G .  Madame  was  dame  d'honneur 

to  Marie  Louise,  and  has  all  the  air  and  manner  of  one  accus 
tomed  to  find  herself  at  home  in  a  court." 

The  persons  indicated  by  the  initials  C G were  the 

Due  and  Duchesse  de  Caderousse  Grammont,  who  then  resided 
in  their  chateau  in.  the  vicinity  of  Avignon.  But  no  mention  is 

J  t"3 

made  of  any  other  member  of  their  family  in  the  Avignon  so 
ciety  of  the  Blessingtons,  though  there  was  one  who  was  an  ob 
ject  of  some  interest  to  the  party. 


BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA.  69 

After  a  prolonged  stay  of  two  months  and  upward  at  Avig 
non,  Lady  Blessingtoii  says  in  her  diary,  "  It  is  strange  how  soon 
one  becomes  habituated  to  a  place.  I  really  feel  as  much  at 
home  at  Avignon  as  if  I  had  spent  years  there." 

On  the  12th  of  February,  1823,  Lady  Blessingtoii  and  her 
party,  increased  by  a  young  Frenchman  of  a  noble  family,  pre 
viously  known  in  England,  lately  met  with  in  Paris,  and  subse 
quently  at  Valence  and  Avignon,  now  a  compagnon  de  voyage, 
set  out  for  Italy,  via  Marseilles,  Toulon,  and  Nice,  and  on  the 
31st  of  March  they  arrived  at  Genoa. 

In  the  diary  of  that  day,  the  uppermost  thought  in  Lady  Bless- 
ingtori's  mind  is  thus  recorded  :  "  And  am  I,  indeed,  in  the  same 
town  with  Byron  !  And  to-morrow  I  may  perhaps  behold  him  !" 

There  are  two  works  of  Lady  Blessington's,  "  the  Idler  in  It 
aly"*  and  "  the  Idler  in  France,"!  in  which  an  account  is  given 
of  her  tours,  and  her  observations  on  the  society,  manners,  sce 
nery,  and  marvels  of  all  kinds  of  the  several  places  she  visited 
and  sojourned  in. 


CHAPTER  III. 

BYRON  AXD  THE  BLESSIXGTONS  AT  GENOA. 

THE  1st  of  April,  1823,  Lady  Blessington's  strong  desire  was 
gratified — she  saw  Byron.  But  the  lady  was  disappointed,  and 
there  is  reason  to  believe  that  the  lord,  always  indisposed  abroad 
to  make  new  acquaintances  with  his  countrymen  or  women, 
was  on  the  occasion  of  this  interview  taken  by  surprise,  and  not 
so  highly  gratified  by  it  as  might  have  been  expected,  when  the 

*  The  Idler  in  Italy,  in  3  vols.  8vo,  was  published  in  1839,  and  is  descriptive  of 
her  visit  to  Paris,  and  sojourn  there  from  the  first  of  September  to  the  12th  of  the 
same  month,  1822  ;  her  route  through  Switzerland,  and  extensive  tour  in  Italy,  ex 
tended  over  a  period  of  five  years,  the  greater  portion  of  which  was  spent  in  Naples. 

t  The  Idler  in  France,  subsequently  published,  is  descriptive  of  her  residence 
in  Paris  for  a  period  of  two  years  and  a  half,  from  the  autumn  of  1828  to  the  end 
of  November,  1830,  when  she  returned  to  England. 

In  her  manuscript  memoranda  and  commonplace  books  there  are  also  frequent 
references  to  persons  whom  she  had  met  with  in  her  travels,  and  observations  on 
places  she  had  visited,  several  of  which  are  almost  identical  with  passages  in 
"the  Idlers." 


70     BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA. 

agrcmens  and  personal  attractions  of  the  lady  are  taken  into  con 
sideration. 

Lady  Blessington's  expression  of  disappointment  has  a  tincture 
of  asperity  in  it  which  is  seldom,  indeed,  to  be  found  in  her  ob 
servations.  There  are  very  evident  appearances  of  annoyance 
of  some  kind  or  another  in  the  account  given  by  her  of  this  in 
terview,  occasioned  either  by  the  reception  given  her  by  Byron, 
or  at  some  eccentricity,  or  absence  of  mind,  that  was  unexpect 
ed,  or  apparent  want  of  homage  on  his  part  to  her  beauty  or 
talents  on  this  occasion,  to  which  custom  had  habituated  her. 

It  must  also  be  observed,  that  the  interview  with  her  ladyship 
is  described  as  having  been  sought  by  Lord  Byron.  It  is  more 
than  probable,  however,  a  little  ruse  was  practiced  on  his  lord 
ship  to  obtain  it.  It  is  stated  by  one  who  has  a  good  knowledge 
of  all  the  circumstances  of  this  visit,  that  a  rainy  forenoon  was 
selected  for  the  drive  to  Byron's  villa ;  that  shelter  was  neces 
sitated,  and  that  necessity  furnished  a  plea  for  a  visit  which 
would  not  have  been  without  some  awkwardness  under  other 
circumstances.  Lord  Blessington,  having  been  admitted  at  once 
on  presenting  himself  at  Byron's  door,  was  on  the  point  of  tak 
ing  his  departure,  apologizing  for  the  briefness  of  the  visit  on 
account  of  Lady  Blessington  being  left  in  an  open  carriage  in 
the  court-yard,  the  rain  then  falling,  when  Byron  immediately 
insisted  on  descending  with  Lord  Blessington,  and  conducting 
her  ladyship  into  his  house. 

"  When  we  arrived,"  says  Lady  Blessington,  "  at  the  gate  of 
the  court-yard  of  the  Casa  Saluzzo,  in  the  village  of  Albano,* 
where  he  resides,  Lord  Blessington  and  a  gentleman  of  our  party 
left  the  carriage  and  sent  in  their  names. f  They  were  admit 
ted  immediately,  and  experienced  a  very  cordial  reception  from 
Lord  Byron,  who  expressed  himself  delighted  to  see  his  old  ac 
quaintance.  Byron  requested  to  be  presented  to  me,  which  led 
to  Lord  Blessington's  avowing  that  I  was  in  the  carriage  at  the 
gate,  with  my  sister.  Byron  immediately  hurried  out  into  the 

*  About  a  mile  and  a  half  from  Genoa. — R.  R.  M. 

t  The  gentleman's  name  will  be  found  in  a  letter  of  Byron  to  Moore,  dated  2d 
April,  1823. 


BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA.      71 

court,  and  I,  who  heard  the  sound  of  steps,  looked  through  the 
gate,  and  beheld  him  approaching  quickly  toward  the  carriage 
without  his  hat,  and  considerably  in  advance  of  the  other  two 
gentlemen." 

The  visit  was  a  long  one  ;  and  many  questions  were  asked 
about  old  friends  and  acquaintances.  Lady  Blessington  says 
Byron  expressed  warmly,  at  their  departure,  the  pleasure  which 
the  visit  had  afforded  him — and  she  doubted  not  his  sincerity; 
not  that  she  would  arrogate  any  merit  in  her  party  to  account 
for  his  satisfaction,  but  simply  because  she  could  perceive  that 
Byron  liked  to  hear  news  of  his  old  associates,  and  to  pass  them 
en  revue,  pronouncing  sarcasms  on  each  as  he  turned  up  in  con 
versation. 

In  a  previous  notice  of  this  interview,  which  bears  some  in 
ternal  evidence  of  having  been  written  long  after  the  period  it 
refers  to,  lamenting  over  the  disappointment  she  felt  at  finding 
her  beau  ideal  of  a  poet  by  no  means  realized,  her  ladyship  ob 
serves  :  "  "Well,  I  never  will  allow  myself  to  form  an  ideal  of 
any  person  I  desire  to  see,  for  disappointment  never  fails  to  en 
sue." 

Byron,  she  admits,  had  more  than  usual  personal  attractions, 
"  but  his  appearance  nevertheless  had  fallen  short  of  her  expect 
ations."  There  is  no  commendation,  however,  without  a  con 
comitant  effort  at  depreciation.  For  example,  her  ladyship  ob 
serves,  "  His  laugh  is  musical,  but  he  rarely  indulged  in  it  dur 
ing  our  interview  ;  and  when  he  did,  it  was  quickly  followed 
by  a  graver  aspect,  as  if  he  liked  not  this  exhibition  of  hilarity. 
"Were  I  asked  to  point  out  the  prominent  defect  of  Byron's  man 
ner,  I  should  pronounce  it  to  be  a  flippancy  incompatible  with 
the  notion  we  attach  to  the  author  of  Childe  Harold  and  Man 
fred,  and  a  want  of  self-possession,  and  dignity  that  ought  to 
characterize  a  man  of  birth  and  genius.  Notwithstanding  this 
defect,  his  manners  are  very  fascinating — more  so,  perhaps,  than 
if  they  were  dignified ;  but  he  is  too  gay,  too  flippant  for  a 
poet."* 

Lady  Blessington  was  accompanied  on  this  occasion  by  her 

*  Idler  in  Italy,  p.  392. 


72      BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA. 

sister,  Miss  Mary  Anne  Power,  now  Comtesse  de  St.  Marsault. 
Byron,  in  a  letter  to  Moore,  dated  April  2d,  1823,  thus  refers  to 
this  interview  : 

"Your  other  allies,  whom  I  have  found  very  agreeable  per 
sonages,  are  Milor  Blessington  and  epouse,  traveling  with  a  very 
handsome  companion  in  the  shape  of  a  'French  count'  (to  use 
Farquhar's  phrase  in  the  Beaux  Stratagem),  who  has  all  the  air 
of  a  Cupidon  dechaine,  and  is  one  of  the  few  specimens  I  have 
seen  of  our  ideal  of  a  Frenchman  before  the  Revolution,  an  old 
friend  with  a  new  face,  upon  whose  like  I  never  thought  that 
we  should  look  again.  Miladi  seems  highly  literary,  to  which, 
and  your  honor's  acquaintance  with  the  family,  I  attribute  the 
pleasure  of  having  seen  them.  She  is  also  very  pretty,  even  in 
a  morning — a  species  of  beauty  on  which  the  sun  of  Italy  does 
not  shine  so  frequently  as  the  chandelier.  Certainly  English 
women  wear  better  than  their  Continental  neighbors  of  the  same 
sex.  Mountjoy  seems  very  good-natured,  but  is  much  tamed  since 
I  recollect  him  in  all  the  glory  of  gems  and  snuff-boxes,  and  uni 
form,  and  theatricals,  and  speeches  in  our  house — '  I  mean  of 
Peers' — I  must  refer  you  to  Pope,  whom  you  don't  read  and 
won't  appreciate,  for  that  quotation  (which  you  must  allow  to 
be  poetical) — and  sitting  to  Stroelling,  the  painter  (do  you  re 
member  our  visit,  with  Leckie,  to  the  German  ?),  to  be  depicted 
as  one  of  the  heroes  of  Agincourt,  '  with  his  long  sword,  saddle, 
bridle,  Whak  fal  de,"  &c.}  &c. 

We  thus  find,  from  the  letter  of  Byron  to  his  friend  Moore, 
that  the  Blessingtons  were  accompanied  by  the  Count  Alfred 
d'Orsay  in  their  visit  to  his  lordship,  and  that  he  was  one  of  the 
party  on  their  arrival  and  at  their  departure  from  Genoa. 

It  is  probable  that  the  arrangements  for  the  count's  journey 
to  Italy  with  the  Blessingtons  had  been  made  in  Paris,  though 
he  did  not  accompany  them  from  that  city,  but  joined  them  first 
at  Valence  on  the  Rhone,  and  subsequently  at  Avignon. 

D'Orsay,  who  had  been  attached  to  the  French  army  of  the 
pretended  expedition  against  Spain,  abandoned  his  profession 
in  an  evil  hour  for  the  career  of  a  mere  man  of  pleasure  and  of 
fashion. 


BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA.      73 

Byron  and  the  Blessingtons  continued  to  live  on  the  most  in 
timate  terms,  we  are  told  by  Lady  Blessington,  during  the  stay 
of  the  latter  at  Genoa  ;  and  that  intimacy  had  such  a  happy  in 
fluence  on  the  author  of  Childe  Harold,  that  he  began  to  aban 
don  his  misanthropy.  On  the  other  hand,  I  am  assured  by  the 
Marquise  de  Boissy,  formerly  Countess  of  Guiccioli,  that  the 
number  of  visits  of  Byron  to  Lady  Blessington  during  the  entire 
period  of  her  sojourn  in  Genoa  did  not  exceed  five  or  six  at  the 
utmost,  and  that  Byron  was  by  no  means  disposed  to.  afford  the 
opportunities  that  he  believed  were  sought,  to  enable  a  lady  of 
a  literary  turn  to  write  about  him.  But  D'Orsay,  she  adds,  at 
the  first  interview,  had  struck  Byron  as  a  person  of  considerable 
talents  and  wonderful  acquirements  for  a  man  of  his  age  and 
former  pursuits.  "  Byron  from  the  first  liked  D'Orsay  ;  he  was 
clever,  original,  unpretending  ;  he  affected  to  be  nothing  that  he 
was  not." 

Byron  sat  for  his  portrait  to  D'Orsay,  that  portrait  which  sub 
sequently  appeared  in  the  New  Monthly  Magazine,  and  after 
ward  as  a  frontispiece  of  her  ladyship's  work,  "Conversations 
with  Lord  Byron." 

His  lordship  suffered  Lady  Blessington  to  lecture  him  in  prose, 
and,  what  was  worse,  in  verse.  He  endeavored  to  persuade 
Lord  Blessington  to  prolong  his  stay  in  Genoa,  and  to  take  a 
residence  adjoining  his  own  named  "  II  Paradiso."  And  a  ru 
mor  of  his  intention  to  take  the  place  for  himself,  and  some 
good-natured  friend  observing,  "  II  diavolo  e  ancora  entrato  in 
Paradiso,"  his  lordship  wrote  the  following  lines  : 

Beneath  Blessington's  eyes 

The  reclaimed  Paradise 
Should  be  free  as  the  former  from  evil ; 

But  if  the  new  Eve 

For  an  apple  should  grieve, 
What  mortal  would  not  play  the  devil  1 

But  the  original  conceit  was  not  in  poetry. 

Lady  Blessington  informed  rne  that,  011  the  occasion  of  a  mask 
ed  ball  to  be  given  in  Genoa,  Byron  stated  his  intention  of  going 
there,  and  asked  her  ladyship  to  accompany  him  :  en  badinant 

VOL.  !.— D 


74      BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA. 

about  the  character  she  was  to  go  in,  some  one  had  suggested 
that  of  Eve — Byron  said,  "  As  some  one  must  play  the  devil,  I 
will  do  it." 

Shortly  before  her  departure  from  Genoa,  Lady  Blessington 
requested  Byron  to  write  some  lines  in  her  album,  and,  accord 
ingly,  he  composed  the  following  stanzas  for  her : 

TO  THE  COUNTESS  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

1. 
You  have  ask'd  for  a  verse  :  the  request 

In  a  rhymer  'twere  strange  to  deny  ; 
But  my  Hippocrene  was  but  my  breast, 
And  ray  feelings  (its  fountain)  are  dry. 

2 
Were  I  now  as  I  was,  I  had  sung 

What  Lawrence  has  painted  so  well ; 
But  the  strain  would  expire  on  my  tongue, 

And  the  theme  is  too  soft  for  my  shell. 

3. 
I  am  ashes  where  once  I  was  fire, 

And  the  bard  in  my  bosom  is  dead ; 
What  I  loved  I  now  merely  admire, 

And  my  heart  is  as  gray  as  my  head. 

4. 

My  life  is  not  dated  by  years — 

There  are  moments  which  act  au  a  plow  ; 

And  there  is  not  a  furrow  appears, 
But  is  deep  in  my  soul  as  my  brow. 

5. 

Let  the  young  and  the  brilliant  aspire 

To  sing  what  I  gaze  on  in  vain ; 
For  sorrow  has  torn  from  my  lyre 

The  string  which  was  worthy  the  strain. 

Moore  speaks  of  the  happy  influence  of  Lady  Blessington's 
society  over  the  mind  of  Byron  : 

"  One  of  the  most  important  services  conferred  upon  Lord  By 
ron  by  Lady  Blessington  during  this  intimacy  was  that  half  re 
viving  of  his  old  regard  for  his  wife,  and  the  check  which  she 
contrived  to  place  upon  the  composition  of  Don  Juan,  and  upon 


BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA.      75 

the  continuation  of  its  most  glaring  immoralities.  He  spoke  of 
Ada  ;  her  mother,  he  said,  '  has  feasted  on  the  smiles  of  her  in 
fancy  and  growth,  but  the  tears  of  her  maturity  shall  be  mine.' 
Lady  Blessington  told  him  that  if  he  so  loved  his  child,  he  should 
never  write  a  line  that  could  bring  a  blush  of  shame  to  her  cheek, 
or  a  sorrowing  tear  to  her  eye  ;  and  he  said,  '  You  are  right ;  1 
never  recollected  this.  I  am  jealously  tenacious  of  the  undi 
vided  sympathy  of  my  daughter ;  and  that  work  (Don  Juan), 
written  to  beguile  hours  of  tristesse  and  wretchedness,  is  well 
calculated  to  loosen  my  hold  on  her  affections.  I  will  write  no 
more  of  it — would  that  I  had  never  written  a  line.'  In  this 
gentler  mind,  with  old  loves,  old  times,  and  the  tenderest  love 
that  human  heart  can  know,  all  conducing  to  soothe  his  pride 
and  his  dislike  of  Lady  Byron,  he  learned  that  a  near  friend  of 
her  ladyship  was  in  Genoa,  and  he  requested  Lady  Blessington 
to  procure  for  him,  through  this  friend,  a  portrait  of  his  wife. 
He  had  heard  that  Lady  Byron  feared  he  was  about  to  come  to 
England  for  the  purpose  of  claiming  his  child.  In  requesting 
the  portrait  and  in  refuting  the  report,  he  addressed  the  follow 
ing  letter  to  Lady  Blessington  : 

"  '  May  3,  1623. 

"  '  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — My  request  would  be  for  a  copy  of  the  min 
iature  of  Lady  B.  which  I  have  seen  in  possession  of  the  late  Lady  Noel,  as 
I  have  no  picture,  or  indeed  memorial  of  any  kind  of  Lady  B.,  as  all  her  let 
ters  were  in  her  own  possession  before  I  left  England,  and  we  have  had  no 
correspondence  since — at  least  on  her  part.  My  message  with  regard  to  the 
infant  is  simply  to  this  effect,  that  in  the  event  of  any  accident  occurring  to 
the  mother,  and  mv  remaining  the  survivor,  it  would  be  my  wish  to  have  her 
plans  carried  into  effect,  both  with  regard  to  the  education  of  the  child,  and 
the  person  or  persons  under  whose  care  Lady  B.  might  be  desirous  that  she 
should  be  placed.  It  is  not  my  intention  to  interfere  with  her  in  any  way  on 
the  subject  during  her  life  ;  and  I  presume  that  it  would  be  some  consolation 
to  her  to  know  (if  she  is  in  ill  health,  as  I  am  given  to  understand),  that  in  no 
case  would  any  thing  be  done,  as  far  as  I  am  concerned,  but  in  strict  con 
formity  with  Lady  B.'s  own  wishes  and  intentions,  left  in  what  manner  she 
thought  proper.  Believe  me,  dear  Lady  B.,  your  obliged,'  "  &c. 

At  length,  in  the  early  part  of  June,  1823,  the  Blessmgtons 
took  their  departure  from  Genoa,  and  Moore  tells  us  how  the 
separation  affected  Byron  : 


76      BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA. 

"  On  the  evening  before  the  departure  of  his  friends,  Lord  and 
Lady  Blessington,  from  Genoa,  he  called  upon  them  for  the  pur 
pose  of  taking  leave,  and  sat  conversing  for  some  time.  He  was 
evidently  in  low  spirits,  and  after  expressing  his  regret  that  they 
should  leave  Genoa  before  his  own  time  of  sailing,  proceeded  to 
speak  of  his  own  intended  voyage  in  a  tone  full  of  despondence. 
'  Here,'  said  he,  *  we  are  all  now  together  ;  but  when,  and 
where,  shall  we  meet  again  ?  I  have  a  sort  of  boding  that  we 
see  each  other  for  the  last  time  ;  as  something  tells  me  I  shall 
never  again  return  from  Greece.'  Having  continued  a  little 
longer  in  this  melancholy  strain,  he  leaned  his  head  upon  the 
arm  of  the  sofa  on  which  they  were  seated,  and,  bursting  into 
tears,  wept  for  some  minutes  with  uncontrollable  feeling. 
Though  he  had  been  talking  only  with  Lady  Blessington,  all 
who  were  present  in  the  room  observed,  and  were  affected  by, 
his  emotion,  while  he  himself,  apparently  ashamed  of  his  weak 
ness,  endeavored  to  turn  off  attention  from  it  by  some  ironical 
remark,  spoken  with  a  sort  of  hysterical  laugh,  upon  the  effects 
of  nervousness.  He  had,  previous  to  this  conversation,  present 
ed  to  each  of  the  party  some  little  farewell  gift — a  book  to  one, 
a  print  from  his  bust  by  Bartolini  to  another,  and  to  Lady  Bless 
ington  a  copy  of  his  Armenian  Grammar,  which  had  some  man 
uscript  remarks  of  his  own  on.  the  leaves.  In  now  parting  with 
her,  having  begged,  as  a  memorial,  some  trifle  which  she  had 
worn,  the  lady  gave  him  one  of  her  rings  ;  in  return  for  which 
he  took  a  pin  from  his  breast,  containing  a  small  cameo  of  Napo 
leon,  which  he  said  had  long  been  his  companion,  and  presented 
it  to  her  ladyship.  The  next  day  Lady  Blessington  received 
from  him  the  following  note  : 

"  «  Albaro,  Juno  2,  1823. 

"  'My  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — I  am  superstitious,  and  have  recollected 
that  memorials  with  a  point  are  of  less  fortunate  augury  :  I  will,  therefore, 
request  you  to  accept,  instead  of  the  pin,  the  inclosed  chain,  which  is  of  so 
slight  a  value  that  you  need  not  hesitate.  As  you  wished  for  something  worn, 
I  can  only  say  that  it  has  been  worn  oftcner  and  longer  than  the  other.  It  is 
of  Venetian  manufacture,  and  the  only  peculiarity  about  it  is  that  it  could  only 
be  obtained  at  or  from  Venice.  At  Genoa  they  have  none  of  the  same  kind. 
I  also  inclose  a  rintr,  which  I  would  wish  Alfred  to  keep;  it  is  too  large  to 


BYRON  AND  THE  BLESS1NGTONS  AT  GENOA.      77 

wear ;  but  it  is  formed  of  lava,  and  so  far  adapted  to  the  fire  of  his  years  and 
character.  You  will  perhaps  have  the  goodness  to  acknowledge  the  receipt 
of  this  note,  and  send  back  the  pin  (for  good  luck's  sake),  which  I  shall  value 
much  more  for  having  been  a  night  in  your  custody. 

"  '  Ever  faithfully  your  obliged,  &c. 
"  'P.S. — I  hope  your  nerves  are  well  to-day,  and  will  continue  to  flourish.'  " 

Some  fourteen  years  only  had  elapsed  since  that  criticism  ap 
peared  in  the  Edinburgh  Review  on  his  (Byron's)  juvenile  po 
ems,  which  began  with  these  words  :  "  The  poesy  of  this  young- 
lord  belongs  to  the  class  which  neither  gods  nor  men  are  said 
to  tolerate." 

And  in  the  interval  between  the  date  of  the  publication  of 
"English  Bards  and  Scotch  Reviewers"  in  1809,  and  that  of 
the  visit  of  the  Blessingtons  to  Genoa  in  June,  1823,  and  his 
departure  for  Greece  a  little  later,  the  poesy  of  the  young  lord 
manifested  to  the  world  that  it  belonged  to  a  class  which  all  the 
powers  of  criticism  could  not  decry  or  crush.  A  few  months 
only  had  elapsed  since  Byron  parted  with  Lady  Blessington  and 
bade  adieu  to  Italy,  and  the  career  of  the  poet  was  near  its 
close  in  Greece. 

In  1828,  again  at  Genoa,  Lady  Blessington,  alluding  to  Byron's 
death,  writes  :  "I  sat  on  the  chair  where  I  had  formerly  been 
seated  next  him ;  looked  from  the  window  whence  he  had 
pointed  out  a  beautiful  view  ;  and  listened  to  Mr.  Barry's  graph 
ic  description  of  the  scene,  when,  becalmed  in  the  Gulf  of  Genoa, 
the  day  he  sailed  for  Greece,  he  returned  and  walked  through 
the  rooms  of  his  deserted  dwelling,  filled  with  melancholy  fore 
bodings.  He  had  hoped  to  have  found  in  it  her  whom  he  was 
destined  never  more  to  behold — that  fair  and  young  Italian  lady, 
the  Contessa  Guiccioli — whose  attachment  to  him  had  triumphed 
over  every  sentiment  of  prudence  and  interest,  and  by  its  devotion 
and  constancy  half  redeemed  its  sin.  But  she,  overwhelmed  by 
grief  at  the  sad  parting,  had  been  placed  in  a  traveling  carriage 
while  almost  in  a  state  of  insensibility,  and  was  journeying  to 
ward  Bologna,  little  conscious  that  he  whom  she  would  have 
given  all  she  possessed  on  earth  to  see  once  more  was  looking 
on  the  chamber  she  had  left  and  the  flowers  she  had  loved,  his 


78      BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA. 

mind  filled  with  a  presentiment  that  they  should  never  meet 
again. 

"Such  is  one  of  the  bitter  consequences  resulting  from  the  viola 
tion  of  ties  never  severed  idthout  retribution."* 

Lady  Blessington's  feelings  of  regard  for  Byron's  memory  were 
by  no  means  such  as  might  have  been  desired. 

Moore's  sentiments  with  respect  to  the  reputation  of  his  de 
parted  friend  were  not  altogether  those  which  might  have  been 
expected. 

Campbell's  feelings  in  relation  to  the  fame  of  a  brother  bard, 
who  had  only  recently  been  a  living  rival,  were  those  which 
some  who  knew  him  well  always  feared  they  would  prove  ; 
they  were  something  more  than  merely  cold  and  unkindly — they 
were  passionately  inimical.  At  a  period  when  most  other  lit 
erary  men  who  ever  had  an  acquaintance  with  Byron,  or  sym 
pathy  with  his  literary  pursuits,  would  have  avoided  entering 
into  a  controversy  with  his  enemies,  and  espousing  the  views  of 
his  opponents,  Campbell  with  avidity  seized  an  opportunity  of 
rushing  into  print  to  wound  the  reputation  of  a  brother  bard, 
whose  fame  during  his  lifetime  he  might  not  with  impunity  have 
assailed.  A  periodical  of  the  time,  commenting  on  this  ill-ad 
vised  proceeding,  observed  :  "  This  strange  matter  has  now  as 
sumed  another  and  a  darker  shade  from  the  interference  of  Mr. 
Campbell,  who,  assuming  to  be  the  personal  champion  of  Lady 
Byron,  has  stepped  forward  to  throw  the  most  odious  imputations 
upon  the  character  of  Lord  Byron  which  can  possibly  be  left  to 
the  worst  imaginations  to  conceive.  Against  this  course  we  pro 
test,  in  the  name  of  all  that  is  honorable  in  human  nature.  We 
were  the  undeviating  censurers  of  the  poet's  injurious  produc 
tions  during  his  lifetime  ;  but  we  can  not  do  otherwise  than  con 
demn,  in  far  stronger  terms,  any  attempt,  after  he  is  laid  in  his 
grave,  to  blast  him  forever  by  mysterious  and  voiceless  whis 
perings.  Of  what  monstrous  crime  was  he  guilty  ?  for,  unless 
he  was  guilty  of  some  monstrous  crime,  a  foul  wrong  is  done  to 
his  memory.  His  accusers  are  bound  by  every  moral  and  sacred 
tie  to  be  definite  in  their  charge  :  against  such  there  is  a  possi- 

*  The  Idler  in  Italy,  vol.  iii.,  p.  365. 


BYRON  AND  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  GENOA.     79 

bility  of  defense  ;  but  there  can  be  no  shield  against  the  horri 
bly  vague  denunciation  which  has  been  so  intemperately  hurled 
at  the  unprotected  and  unanswering  dead.  And  what  called  this 
forth  ?  A  very  slight  surmise  by  Mr.  Moore  against  the  parents 
of  Lady  Byron  ;  to  repel  which,  she  comes  rashly  out  with  a 
statement  that  damns  the  husband  of  her  bosom  ;  and,  as  if  this 
were  not  enough,  the  zeal  of  Mr.  Campbell  advances  to  pour  ad 
ditional  suspicion  and  ignominy  upon  his  mouldering  ashes.  The 
fame  of  a  Byron  is  public  property  ;  and,  after  what  has  passed, 
it  is  imperative  on  his  adversaries  either  to  fix  some  eternal 
brand  upon  it,  such  as  can  justify  their  language,  or  confess  that 
they  have  used  expressions  which  no  conduct  of  his  could  au 
thorize.  And  we  are  persuaded  that  they  must  do  the  latter; 
for  it  is  incredible  that  any  woman  of  the  spirit  and  honor  of 
Lady  Byrori  could  have  lived  an  hour  with  a  man  whom  she 
knew  to  be  a  detested  criminal,  and  far  less  that  she  should 
have  corresponded  with  him  in  playful  and  soothing  letters. 
The  plea  of  insanity  itself  can  not  reconcile  this  with  any  thing 
like  the  atrocious  guilt  now  by  circumstance  imputed ;  and  we 
do  earnestly  trust  that  an  explanation  will  be  vouchsafed,  which 
will  set  this  painful  discussion  at  rest  in  a  manner  more  satis 
factory  to  the  world.  Having,  in  these  few  remarks,  grappled 
with  the  main  point  at  issue,  we  abstain  from  saying  a  syllable  on 
minor  affairs  ;  and  we  do  not  deem  ourselves  in  a  condition  to 
blame  any  one  of  the  parties  we  have  been  obliged  to  name."* 

Lord  Byron's  yacht,  "  the  Bolivar,"  was  purchased  by  Lord 
Blessington  previously  to  his  departure  from  Genoa,  and  it  was 
subsequently  considered  by  Lady  Blessington  that  the  poet  drove 
a  hard  bargain  with  her  husband. 

Medwin,  however,  as  a  proof  of  Byron's  lavish  and  inconsid 
erate  expenditure,  and  his  incongruity  of  action  in  regard  to 
money  matters,  states  that  he  gave  -£1000  for  a  yacht  which  he 
sold  for  £300,  and  yet  refused  to  give  the  sailors  their  jackets. 

The  2d  of  June,  1823,  the  Blessingtoiis  set  out  from  Genoa 
for  Naples,  via  Lucca,  Florence,  Vienna,  and  Rome  ;  took  their 
departure  from  the  Eternal  City  the  13th  of  the  same  month, 
and  arrived  at  Naples  on  the  17th. 

*  Literary  Gazette. 


THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES. 


CHAPTER  IV. 

THE    CITY  AND    BAY  OF   NAPLES. THE    J5LESSINGTONS   AND   THEIR 

SOCIETY    IN    NAPLES. JUNE,    1823,    TO    FEBRUARY,    1826. 

JUNE  2d  (1823),  the  Blessingtons  left  Genoa,  and  passed 
through  Lucca,  where  they  stayed  a  few  days,  and  arrived  in 
Florence  on  the  8th  of  the  same  month.  Here  they  remained 
till  the  1st  of  July.  Lady  Blessing-ton  spent  her  whole  time  vis 
iting  monuments  of  antiquity,  churches,  galleries,  villas,  and  pal 
aces,  associated  with  great  names  and  memories.  In  no  city  in 
Italy  did  she  find  her  thoughts  carried  back  to  the  past  so  forci 
bly  as  at  Florence.  A  thousand  recollections  of  the  olden  time 
of  the  merchant  princes,  the  Medici,  and  the  Pazzi — of  all  the 
factions  of  the  republic,  the  Neri  and  Biarichi,  the  Guelphs  and 
Ghibellines,  recurred  to  memory  in  her  various  visits  to  the  dif 
ferent  localities  of  celebrity  in  the  noble  city,  the  grandeur  and 
beauty  of  which  far  surpassed  her  expectations.  After  a  so 
journ  of  about  three  weeks  in  Florence,  the  party  set  out  for 
Rome.  On  the  5th  of  July,  the  first  view  of  the  Eternal  City 
burst  on  the  pilgrims  from  St.  James's  Square. 

As  they  entered  the  city,  the  lone  mother  of  dead  empires,  all 
appeared  wrapped  in  silent  solemnity,  not  wanting,  however,  in 
sublimity.  "  Even  the  distant  solitude  of  the  Campagria,"  says 
Lady  Blessington,  "  was  not  divested  of  the  latter.  But  in  the 
evening  the  Corso  was  crowded  with  showy  equipages,  occu 
pied  by  gayly-dressed  ladies,  and  thronged  with  cavaliers  on 
prancing  steeds  riding  past  them.  Nothing  could  surpass  the 
gayety  of  the  evening  scene,  or  contrast  more  strangely  with  the 
gloom  of  the  morning  aspect  of  the  sombre  suburbs." 

The  mournful  contemplations  awakened  by  the  ruins  of  an 
cient  Rome  are  frequently  spoken  of  by  Lady  Blessington. 

I  can  not  help  thinking  they  were  of  too  mournful  a  charac 
ter  for  her  ladyship  to  make  that  city  of  the  dead,  of  shattered 


THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES.  gj 

thrones  and  temples,  of  shrines  and  sepulchres,  a  place  of  abode 
congenial  to  her  feelings,  tastes,  and  predilections. 

The  Eternal  City  and  its  everlasting  monuments  appear  to 
have  made  less  impression  on  the  mind  of  Lady  Blessington 
than  might  have  been  expected  by  those  acquainted  with  her 
refined  tastes  and  literary  acquirements. 

The  gloom  of  the  sombre  monumental  city  seemed  oppressive 
to  her  spirits  ;  the  solemn  aspect  of  the  sites  of  palaces  renown 
ed  of  old,  and  those  sermons  in  stones  of  crumbling  monuments, 
and  all  the  remaining  vestiges  of  a  people,  and  their  idols  of 
long  past  ages,  speaking  to  the  inmost  soul  of  decay  and  de- 
structibility,  were  not  in  accordance  with  her  turn  of  mind,  arid 
her  natural  taste  for  objects  and  scenery  that  exhilarated  the 
senses,  and  communicated  joyousness  to  every  faculty.  Naples, 
in  Lady  Blessington's  opinion,  and  not  Rome,  was  the  appropri 
ate  locality  for  an  elysium  that  was  to  last  forever,  and  for  any 
sojourn  of  English  tourists  of  haut  ton  that  was  intended  to  be 
prolonged  for  the  enjoyment  of  Italian  skies  and  sunshine,  scen 
ery  and  society. 

On  the  14th  of  July,  nine  days  after  her  arrival  in  Rome, 
Lady  Blessington  writes  in  her  diary,  "  Left  Rome  yesterday, 
driven  from  it  by  oppressive  heat,  and  the  evil  prophecies  dinned 
into  my  ears  of  the  malaria.  I  have  no  fears  of  the  effect  of 
either  for  myself,  but  I  dare  not  risk  th^m  for  others." 

There  were  other  circumstances  besides  those  referred  to,  in 
all  probability,  which  determined  the  precipitate  departure  from 
Rome.  All  the  appliances  to  comfort,  or  rather  to  luxury,  which 
had  become  necessary  to  Lady  Blessington,  had  not  been  found 
in  Rome.  Her  ladyship  had  become  exceedingly  fastidious  in 
her  tastes.  The  difficulties  of  pleasing  her  in  house  accommo 
dation,  in  dress,  in  cookery  especially,  had  become  so  formida 
ble,  and  occasioned  so  many  inconveniences,  that  the  solicitude 
spoken  of  for  the  safety  of  others  was  only  one  of  the  reasons 
for  the  abrupt  departure  referred  to. 

With  the  strongest  regard  for  Lady  Blessington,  and  the  full 
est  appreciation  of  the  many  good  qualities  that  belonged  to  her, 
it  can  not  be  denied  that,  whether  discoursing  in  her  salons,  or 

D2 


82  THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES. 

talking  with  pen  in  hand  on  paper  in  her  journals,  she  occasion 
ally  aimed  at  something  like  stage  eilects,  acted  in  society  and 
in  her  diaries,  and  at  times  assumed  opinions,  which  she  aban 
doned  a  little  later,  or  passed  oiFappearances  for  realities.  This 
was  done  with  the  view  of  acquiring  esteem,  strengthening  her 
position  in  the  opinion  of  persons  of  exalted  intellect  or  station, 
and  directing  attention  to  the  side  of  it  that  was  brilliant  and 
apparently  enviable,  not  for  any  unworthy  purpose,  but  from  a 
desire  to  please,  and  perhaps  from  a  feeling  of  uncertainty  in 
the  possession  of  present  advantages. 

The  first  impressions  of  Lady  Blessington  of  the  beauty  of  the 
environs  of  Naples,  the  matchless  site  of  the  city,  its  glorious 
bay,  its  celebrated  garden,  the  Villa  Reale,  its  delightful  climate, 
and  exquisite  tints  of  sea  and  sky,  and  varied  aspect  of  shore 
and  mountain,  of  isles  and  promontories,  are  described  by  her, 
in  her  diaries,  in  very  glowing  terms. 

Her  hotel,  the  Gran  Bretagna,  fronted  the  sea,  and  was  only 
divided  from  it  by  the  garden  of  the  Villa  Reale,  filled  with 
plants  and  flowers,  and  adorned  with  statues  and  vases.  The 
sea  was  seen  sparkling  through  the  openings  of  the  trees,  with 
numbers  of  boats  gliding  along  the  shore.  In  the  "  Idler  in  Ita 
ly,"  Lady  Blessington  thus  speaks  of  the  delightful  climate  and 
its  cheering  influences  : 

"  How  light  and  elastic  is  the  air !  Respiration  is  carried  on 
unconsciously,  and  existence  becomes  a  positive  pleasure  in  such 
a  climate.  Who  that  has  seen  Naples  can  wonder  that  her  chil 
dren  are  idle,  and  luxuriously  disposed  ?  To  gaze  on  the  cloud 
less  sky  and  blue  Mediterranean,  in  an  atmosphere  so  pure  and 
balmy,  is  enough  to  make  the  veriest  plodder  who  ever  courted 
Plutus  abandon  his  toil,  and  enjoy  the  delicious  dole e  far1  nicntc 
of  the  Neapolitans."* 

A  few  words  of  this  epitome  of  Paradise  may  be  permitted  to 
one  who  enjoyed  its  felicity  of  clirne,  and  site,  and  scenery  for 
upward  of  three  years. 

The  city  of  Naples  retains  no  vestiges  of  Greek  or  Roman  an 
tiquity.  It  occupies  the  site  of  two  ancient  Greek  towns,  Palse- 

*   Tho  Ifllrr  in  ftalv.  p.  "241.      P;ir.  orl..  1839. 


THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES.  33 

opolis,  founded  by  Parthenope,  and  Neapolis,  or  the  New  Town. 
Eventually  they  merged  into  one  city,  which  became  a  portion 
.of  the  Roman  Empire,  and  obtained  the  name  of  Neapolis.  The 
Bay  of  Naples,  for  the  matchless  beauty  of  its  situation  and  its 
surrounding  scenery,  is  unrivaled.  Its  circling  beach  extends 
from  the  promontory  of  Pausilippo  to  Sorrento,  a  line  of  more 
than  thirty  miles  of  varied  beauty  and  magnificence.  This  city, 
with  its  churches,  palaces,  villas,  and  houses,  luxuriant  gardens 
and  vineyards,  with  the  surrounding  hills  and  grounds  thickly 
planted  in  the  vicinity,  backed  by  the  Apennines,  well  deserves 
its  poetical  designation,  "  Unpezzo  di  ciclo  caduto  in  terra."  Na 
ples,  it  is  truly  said,  "  viewed  by  moonlight,  is  enchanting.  The 
moon,  pouring  out  an  effulgence  of  silvery  light  from  a  sky  of 
the  deepest  azure,  through  a  pure  and  transparent  atmosphere, 
places  all  the  prominent  buildings  in  strong  relief;  and  while 
it  makes  every  object  distinctly  visible,  it  mellows  each  tint, 
and  blends  the  innumerable  details  into  one  vast  harmonious 
whole,  throwing  a  bewitching  and  indescribable  softness  and  re 
pose  on  the  scene." 

From  the  time  that  this  city  and  territory  fell  under  the  power 
of  the  Romans,  to  the  period  of  the  destruction  of  Pompeii  in  the 
year  of  our  Lord  79,  Neapolis,  on  account  of  the  beauty  of  its  sit 
uation  and  excellence  of  its  climate,  became  the  favorite  place 
of  residence  in  the  winter  season,  and  the  chosen  sojourn  for  a 
continuance  of  several  of  the  magnates  of  the  Eternal  City,  of 
the  Emperor  Tiberius  for  the  last  years  of  his  iniquitous  reign — 
of  many  of  the  most  illustrious  sages  arid  philosophers  of  Rome. 
For  some  centuries  subsequently  to  the  destruction  of  Pompeii, 
Naples  shared  the  calamitous  fate  of  the  other  Italian  cities : 
it  was  ruled,  harassed,  pillaged,  and  devastated  successively 
by  Goths,  Vandals,  Saracens,  Lombards,  and  Parmans,  and  ulti 
mately  by  Germans,  French,  and  Spaniards.  The  flight  of  the 
King  of  Naples  in  1799 — the  short  reign  of  Joseph  Bonaparte — 
the  rule  of  Murat — his  deposition,  execution — and  other  modern 
vicissitudes,  it  is  hardly  necessary  to  refer  to. 

The  Castello  dell  Novo,  standing  on  a  projecting  insulated 
rock,  commands  the  entire  of  the  two  semicircular  bays  on  which 


84  THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES. 

the  city  stands.  In  one  direction  extends  the  long  line  of  shore 
on  which  are  the  Chiatamone,  the  Marino  and  Chiaja,  with  nu 
merous  ascending  terraces  of  streets  behind  them,  crowned  by 
Fort  St.  Elmo  and  Castello  Nuovo,  the  convent  of  Camaldole, 
the  Palazzo  Belvidere,  and  the  hill  of  the  Vomero  ;  and  still  far 
ther  westward,  the  Promontory  of  Pausilippo  terminates  the  land 
view,  arid  in  this  vicinity  lie  the  beautiful  little  islands  of  Ischia 
and  Procida.  In  the  other  direction,  to  the  eastward  of  the  Cas 
tello  dell  Novo,  are  semicircular  clusters  of  houses,  convents,  and 
churches,  with  the  mole,  the  light-house,  and  harbor,  the  quay 
of  Santa  Lucia,  surmounted  by  the  Palace  of  Capo  di  Monte,  and 
the  eminence  of  Capo  di  Chino,  and  in  the  distant  background 
the  bold  outlines  of  the  Apennines,  with  their  tints  of  purple  va 
rying  with  the  atmosphere,  and  presenting  a  different  aspect 
with  the  several  changes  of  the  setting  sun.  Still  farther  by 
the  eastern  shore  is  the  Ponte  Madelena  leading  to  Portici  and 
Torro  del  Grseco,  the  sites  and  ruins  of  Pompeii  and  Hercula- 
neum,  and  rising  up  in  the  vicinity,  in  the  plains  of  the  Cam- 
pagna  Felice,  Vesuvius  of  portentous  aspect,  sombre  and  majes 
tic,  with  all  its  associations  of  terror  and  destruction,  and  the  tra 
ditionary  horrors  of  its  history,  from  those  of  79  A.D.  to  the  latest 
eruptions  of  signal  violence  in  1821,  are  recalled  as  we  approach 
its  base  or  ascend  the  dreary  foot-path  in  the  ravines  of  molten 
lava  or  ragged  scorise  and  masses  of  huge  rock  that  have  been 
torn  from  the  sides  of  the  crater  in  some  past  eruptions. 

Still  farther  along  the  shore  to  the  southeast  stands  Castella- 
mare,  a  place  of  resort  noted  for  its  coolness  and  refreshing  sea- 
breezes,  the  site  of  the  ancient  Stabia,  the  summer  retreat  of  the 
elite  of  Naples.  A  little  farther  is  the  delightful  scenery  of 
Monte  S.Michel,  Sorrento,  the  birth-place  of  Tasso,  and  the  Cape 
Campanello,  the  ancient  Athenaeus,  or  Promontory  of  Minerva, 
terminate  the  land  view  to  the  eastward.  At  the  entrance  to 
the  bay,  where  the  expanse  is  greatest  between  the  eastern  and 
western  shore,  in  a  southern  direction,  is  the  island  of  Capri,  the 
ancient  CapreoR,  eighteen  miles  distant  from  the  opposite  ex 
tremity  of  the  Bay  of  Portici,  about  four  miles  from  the  nearest 
shore.  The  extreme  length  of  the  island  is  about  four  miles  ; 


THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES.  85 

in  breadth  it  is  about  two  miles.  The  peak  of  the  southern 
mountain  of  the  island  is  about  2000  feet  high.  Several  ruins, 
supposed  to  be  of  palaces  of  the  imperial  monster  Tiberius,  exist 
on  this  island. 

The  extreme  length  of  Naples  is  from  the  Ponte  Madelena 
to  Pausilippo,  along  the  sea-shore,  a  distance  of  about  four  miles. 
The  breadth  is  unequal ;  at  the  west  end  it  is  contracted  be 
tween  the  hills  of  the  Vomero  and  the  Belvidere  and  the  sea 
side,  and  in  the  interval  there  are  only  three  or  four  streets. 
Toward  the  centre  it  extends  from  the  Castello  dell  Novo  north 
ward  to  the  Capo  di  Monte  and  Monte  di  Chino,  and  in  this 
direction  the  breadth  of  this  most  ancient  part  of  the  city,  and 
most  densely  populated  from  the  quay  of  St.  Lucia  to  the  emi 
nences  of  Capo  di  Monte  and  Capo  di  Chino,  is  about  two  miles. 
The  main  street,  Strada  del  Toledo,  runs  nearly  parallel  with 
the  shore.  It  is  broad,  and  fronted  with  large  houses,  five  or 
six  stories  high,  in  which  are  the  principal  shops  of  the  city. 
The  population  amounts  to  about  380,000  inhabitants  ;  there  are 
upward  of  300  churches  ;  the  lazzaroni  are  estimated  at  40,000  ; 
the  clergy,  monks,  and  nuns,  at  7800. 

The  Castello  dell  Novo  is  built  on  a  rock,  which  projects  into 
the  sea  from  the  Chiatamone,  which  separates  it  from  Pizzo  Fal 
cone.  It  was  formerly  called  Megera,  then  Lucullanum.  The 
last  of  the  Roman  Emperors,  Romulus  Augustulanus,  is  said  to 
have  been  imprisoned  here  in  476.  The  fortress  consists  now  of 
a  composed  mass  of  buildings,  ancient  and  modern.  In  one  of 
the  old  gloomy  apartments,  the  Glueen  Joanna  was  for  some  time 
confined.  Its  venerable  commandant  in  1822-4,  and  for  many 
years  previously,  was  a  brave  old  Irish  officer,  General  "Wade. 

Willis  has  happily  sketched  the  Bay  of  Naples  in  a  few 
words,  not  destitute  of  poetry  or  of  graphic  talent. 

"  The  bay  is  a  collection  of  beauties,  which  seems  to  me  more 
a  miracle  than  an  accident  of  nature.  It  is  a  deep  crescent  of 
sixteen  miles  across,  and  little  more  in  length,  between  the 
points  of  which  lies  a  chain  of  low  mountains,  called  the  island 
of  Capri,  looking  from  the  shore  like  a  vast  heap  of  clouds  brood 
ing  at  sea.  In  the  bosom  of  the  crescent  lies  Naples.  Its  pal- 


80  THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES. 

aces  and  principal  buildings  cluster  around  the  base  of  an  abrupt 
hill  crowned  by  the  castle  of  St.  Elmo,  and  its  half  million  of 
inhabitants  have  stretched  their  dwellings  over  the  plain  to 
ward  Vesuvius,  and  back  upon  Posilippo,  bordering  the  curve 
of  the  shore  on  the  right  and  left  with  a  broad  white  band  of 
city  and  village  for  twelve  or  fourteen  miles.  Back  from  this, 
on  the  southern  side,  a  very  gradual  ascent  brings  your  eye  to 
the  base  of  Vesuvius,  which  rises  from  the  plain  in  a  sharp  cone, 
broken  in  at  the  top  ;  its  black  and  lava-streaked  sides  descend 
ing  with  the  evenness  of  a  sand-hill,  on  one  side  to  the  disin 
terred  city  of  Pompeii,  and  on  the  other  to  the  royal  palace  of 
Portici,  built  over  the  yet  unexplored  Herculaneurn.  In  the 
centre  of  the  crescent  of  the  shore,  projecting  into  the  sea  by  a 
bridge  of  two  or  three  hundred  feet  in  length,  stands  a  small 
castle,  built  upon  a  rock,  on  one  side  of  which  lies  the  mole 
with  its  shipping.  The  other  side  is  bordered,  close  to  the 
beach,  with  the  gardens  of  the  royal  villa,  a  magnificent  prom 
enade  of  a  mile,  ornamented  with  fancy  temples  and  statuary, 
on  the  smooth  alleys  of  which  may  be  met,  at  certain  hours,  all 
that  is  brilliant  and  gay  in  Naples.  Farther  on,  toward  the 
northern  horn  of  the  bay,  lies  the  Mount  of  Posilippo,  the  ancient 
coast  of  Baiao,  Cape  Misenum,  and  the  mountain  isles  of  Procida 
and  Ischia ;  the  last  of  which  still  preserves  the  costumes  of 
Greece,  from  which  it  was  colonized  centuries  ago.  The  bay 
itself  is  as  blue  as  the  sky,  scarcely  ruffled  all  day  with  the  wind, 
and  covered  by  countless  boats  fishing  or  creeping  on  with  their 
picturesque  lateen  sails  just  filled  ;  while  the  atmosphere  over 
sea,  city,  and  mountain  is  of  a  clearness  and  brilliancy  which 
is  inconceivable  in  other  countries.  The  superiority  of  the  sky 
and  climate  of  Italy  is  no  fable  in  any  part  of  this  delicious  land  ; 
but  in  Naples,  if  the  day  I  have  spent  here  is  a  fair  specimen, 
it  is  matchless  even  for  Italy.  There  is  something  like  a  fine 
blue  veil  of  a  most  dazzling  transparency  over  the  mountains 
around,  but  above  and  between  there  seems  nothing  but  view 
less  space — nothing  like  air  that  a  bird  could  rise  upon.  The 
eye  gets  intoxicated  almost  with  gazing  on  it."* 

*  Pencilings  by  the  Wuy,  p.  32. 


THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES.  87 

"  I  can  compare  standing  on  the  top  of  Vesuvius  and  looking 
down  upon  the  bay  and  city  of  Naples  to  nothing  but  mounting 
a  peak  in  the  infernal  regions  overlooking  Paradise.  The  larger 
crater  encircles  you  entirely  for  a  mile,  cutting  off  the  view  of 
the  sides  of  the  mountain ;  and  from  the  elevation  of  the  new 
cone,  you  look  over  the  rising  edge  of  this  black  field  of  smoke 
and  cinders,  and  drop  the  eye  at  once  upon  Naples,  lying  asleep 
in  the  sun,  with  its  lazy  sails  upon  the  water,  and  the  green  hills 
inclosing  it  clad  in  the  indescribable  beauty  of  an  Italian  at 
mosphere.  Beyond  all  comparison,  by  the  testimony  of  every 
writer  and  traveler,  the  most  beautiful  scene  in  the  world — 
the  loveliest  water  and  the  brightest  land  lay  spread  out  before 
us.  With  the  stench  of  hot  sulphur  in  our  nostrils,  ankle  deep 
in  black  ashes,  and  a  waste  of  smouldering  cinders  in  every 
direction  around  us,  the  enjoyment  of  the  view  certainly  did  not 
want  for  the  heightening  of  contrast."* 

The  Bay  of  Naples,  long  after  the  departure  of  Lady  Blessing- 
ton  from  its  shores,  ceased  not  to  be  a  favorite  theme  both  in 
conversation  and  composition  with  her  ladyship. 

The  sketch  of  its  beauties  appeared  in  the  "  Book  of  Beauty" 
for  1834,  and  again  came  out,  retouched,  in  one  of  her  later  pub 
lications,  "  The  Lottery  of  Life." 

THE    BAY    OF    NAPLES 
In  the  Summer  of  1824. 

"  It  is  evening,  and  scarcely  a  breeze  ruffles  the  calm  bosom 
of  the  beautiful  bay,  which  resembles  a  vast  lake,  reflecting  on 
its  glassy  surface  the  bright  sky  above,  and  the  thousand  stars 
with  which  it  is  studded.  Naples,  with  its  white  colonnades 
seen  amid  the  dark  foliage  of  its  terraced  gardens,  rises  like  an 
amphitheatre  :  lights  stream  from  the  windows  and  fall  on  the 
sea  beneath  like  colums  of  gold  ;  the  castle  of  St.  Elmo  crown 
ing  the  centre  ;  Vesuvius,  like  a  sleeping  giant  in  grim  repose, 
whose  awakening  all  dread,  is  to  the  left ;  and  on  the  right  are 
the  vine-crowned  heights  of  the  beautiful  Vomero,  with  their 
palaces  and  villas  peeping  forth  from  the  groves  that  surround 

*  Ponrilinas  by  (ho  Way,  p.  43. 


88  THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES. 

them  ;  while  rising  above  it,  the  convent  of  Camaldoli  lifts  its 
head  to  the  skies.  Resina,  Portici,  Castelamare,  and  the  lonely 
shores  of  Sorrento,  reach  out  from  Vesuvius  as  if  they  tried  to 
embrace  the  isle  of  Capri,  which  forms  the  central  object ;  and 
Pausilipo  and  Misenum,  which,  in  the  distance,  seemed  joined 
to  Procida  and  Ischia,  advance  to  meet  the  beautiful  island  on 
the  right.  The  air,  as  it  leaves  the  shore,  is  laden  with  fra 
grance  from  the  orange-trees  and  jasmine,  so  abundant  round 
Naples  ;  and  the  soft  music  of  the  guitar,  or  lively  sound  of  the 
tambourine,  marking  the  brisk  movements  of  the  tarantella, 
steals  on  the  ear.  But  hark  !  a  rich  stream  of  music,  silencing 
all  other,  is  heard,  and  a  golden  barge  advances  ;  the  oars  keep 
time  to  the  music,  and  each  stroke  of  them  sends  forth  a  silvery 
light ;  numerous  lamps  attached  to  the  boat  give  it,  at  a  little 
distance,  the  appearance  of  a  vast  shell  of  topaz  floating  on  a 
sea  of  sapphire.  Nearer  and  nearer  draws  this  splendid  pa 
geant,  the  music  falls  more  distinctly  on  the  charmed  ear,  and 
one  sees  that  its  dulcet  sounds  are  produced  by  a  band  of  glitter 
ing  musicians  clothed  in  royal  liveries.  This  illuminated  barge 
is  followed  by  another  with  a  silken  canopy  overhead,  and  the 
curtains  drawn  back  to  admit  the  balmy  air.  Cleopatra,  when 
she  sailed  down  the  Cydnus,  boasted  not  a  more  beautiful  ves 
sel  ;  and,  as  it  glides  over  the  sea,  it  seems  impelled  by  the 
music  that  precedes  it,  so  perfectly  does  it  keep  time  to  its  en 
chanting  sounds,  leaving  a  bright  trace  behind,  like  the  memory 
of  departed  happiness.  But  who  is  he  that  guides  this  beau 
teous  bark  ?  His  tall  and  slight  figure  is  curved,  and  his  snowy 
locks,  falling  over  ruddy  cheeks,  show  that  age  has  bent,  but  not 
broken  him  ;  he  looks  like  one  born  to  command — a  hoary  Nep 
tune  steering  over  his  native  element ;  all  eyes  arc  fixed,  but 
his  follow  the  glittering  barge  that  precedes  him.  Arid  who  is 
she  that  has  the  seat  of  honor  at  his  side  ?  Her  fair,  large,  and 
unmeaning  face  wears  a  placid  smile,  and  those  light  blue  eyes 
and  fair  ringlets  speak  her  of  another  land  ;  her  lips,  too,  want 
the  fine  chiseling  which  marks  those  of  the  sunny  clime  of 
Italy  ;  and  the  expression  of  her  countenance  has  in  it  more  of 
-earth  than  heaven.  Innumerable  boats,  filled  with  lords  and 


THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES.  89 

ladies,  follow,  but  intrude  not  on  the  privacy  of  this  royal  bark, 
which  passes  before  us  like  a  vision  in  a  dream.  He  who  steer 
ed  was  Ferdinand,  King  of  the  Sicilies,  and  she  who  was  beside 
him  Maria  Louisa,  ex-Empress  of  France." 

Many  a  glorious  evening  have  I  passed  with  the  Blessingtons 
in  1823  and  in  the  early  part  of  1824,  sailing  in  the  Bay  of  Na 
ples,  in  their  yacht,  the  Bolivar,  which  had  belonged  to  Lord 
Byron;  and  not  unfrequently,  when  the  weather  was  particular 
ly  fine,  and  the  moonlight  gave  additional  beauty  to  the  shores 
of  Portici  and  Castelamare,  Sorrento,  and  Pausilippo,  the  nio;ht 
has  been  far  advanced  before  we  returned  to  the  Mole. 

The  furniture  of  the  cabin  of  the  Bolivar  reminds  one  of  its 
former  owner.  The  table  at  which  he  wrote,  the  sofa  on  which 
he  reclined,  were  in  the  places  in  which  they  stood  when  he 
owned  the  yacht.  Byron  was  very  partial  to  this  vessel.  It 
had  been  built  for  him  expressly  at  Leghorn.  On  one  occasion 
I  was  of  the  party,  when,  having  dined  on  board,  and  skirted 
along  the  shores  of  Castelamare  and  Sorrento,  the  wind  fell 
about  dusk,  and  we  lay  becalmed  in  the  bay  till  two  or  three 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  some  six  or  eight  miles  from  the  shore. 
The  bay  was  never  more  beautiful  than  on  that  delightful  night ; 
the  moonlight  could  not  be  more  brilliant.  The  pale  blue  sky 
was  without  a  cloud,  the  sea  smooth  and  shining  as  a  mirror, 
and  at  every  plash  of  an  oar  glittering  with  phosphorescent 
flashes  of  vivid  light.  But  all  the  beauties  of  the  bay  on  that 
occasion  wasted  their  loveliness  on  the  weary  eyes  of  poor  Lady 
Blessington  that  long  night  in  vain. 

"  Captain  Smith,"  capitaine  par  complaisance,  a  lieutenant  of 
the  navy,  who  had  the  command  of  the  Bolivar,  a  very  great 
original,  on  that  as  well  as  many  other  occasions  served  to  re 
lieve  the  tedium  of  those  aquatic  excursions,  which  were  some 
times  a  little  more  prolonged  than  pleased  Lady  Blessington. 
Her  ladyship  had  a  great  turn  and  a  particular  talent  for  grave 
banter,  for  solemn  irony,  verging  on  the  very  borders  of  obvi 
ous  hoaxing.  It  was  a  very  great  delight  to  her  to  discover  a 
prevailing  weakness,  vanity,  absurdity,  prejudice,  or  an  antipa 
thy  in  an  extravagant  or  eccentric,  vain  or  peculiar  person,  and 


90  THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES. 

then  to  draw  out  that  individual,  and  seem  to  read  his  thoughts, 
throwing  out  catch-words  and  half  sentences  to  suggest  the  kind 
of  expression  she  desired  or  expected  to  solicit,  and  then  lead 
ing  the  party  into  some  ridiculous  display  of  oddity  or  vanity, 
and  exceedingly  absurd  observations. 

But  this  was  done  with  such  singular  tact,  finesse,  and  deli 
cacy  of  humor,  that  pain  never  was  inflicted  by  the  mystifica 
tion,  for  the  simple  reason  that  the  badinage  was  never  sus 
pected  by  the  party  on  whom  it  was  practiced,  even  when  carried 
to  the  very  utmost  limit  of  discretion.  This  taste  for  drawing 
out  odd  people,  and  making  them  believe  absurd  things,  or  ex 
press  ridiculous  ones,  was  certainly  indulged  in,  not  in  a  vulgar 
or  coarse  manner,  but  it  became  too  much  a  habit,  and  tended, 
perhaps,  to  create  a  penchant  for  acting  in  society,  and  playing 
off  opinions,  as  other  persons  do  jokes  and  jests,  for  the  sake  of 
the  fun  of  the  performance. 

The  Count  D'Orsay,  who  was  a  man  of  genuine  wit  and  won 
derful  quickness  of  perception  of  the  ridiculous  wherever  it  ex 
isted,  also  possessed  this  taste  for  mystifying  and  eliciting  ab 
surdity  to  a  very  great  extent,  and  rendered  no  little  aid  to  Lady 
Blessington  in  these  exhibitions  of  talent  for  grave  irony  and 
refined  banter,  which  ever  and  anon,  of  an  evening,  she  was 
wont  to  indulge  in.  In  Naples,  poor  "  Captain  Smith's"  anxi 
ety  for  promotion,  and  high  sense  of  fitness  for  the  most  exalted 
position  in  his  profession,  furnished  the  principal  subjects  for 
the  display  of  this  kind  of  talent. 

The  poor  captain  was  "  fooled  to  the  very  top  of  his  bent.'' 
He  was  drawn  out  in  all  companies,  in  season  and  out  of  sea 
son,  on  the  subject  of  posting.  The  Admiralty  were  regularly 
lugged  into  every  argument,  and  it  invariably  ended  with  an  in 
quiry  "why  he  was  not  posted."  The  same  observations  in 
reply  were  always  produced  by  an  allusion  to  the  Lords  of  the 
Admiralty  ;  and  the  same  replies,  with  unerring  precision,  were 
sure  to  follow  the  inquiry  about  post  rank.  "  There  was  no  pat 
ronage  for  merit."  "  He  ought  to  have  been  posted  fifteen  years 
ago."  "  Half  the  post-captains  in  the  navy  were  his  juniors, 
though  all  got  posted  because  they  had  patrons."  "But  the 


THE  CITY  AND  BAY  OF  NAPLES.  91 

Lords  of  the  Admiralty  never  posted  a  man  for  his  service, 
and — "  The  disconcerted  lieutenant  would  then  be  interrupted 
by  D'Orsay  with  some  such  good-nature d  suggestion  as  the  fol 
lowing,  in  his  broken  English  :  "  Ah,  my  poor  Smid,  tell  miladi 
over  again,  my  good  fellow ;  once  more  explain  for  Mademoiselle 
Power,  too,  how  it  happens  Milords  of  the  Admirals  never  post 
ed  you  ?" 

Then  would  the  lieutenant  go  over  the  old  formula  in  a  queru 
lous  tone,  without  the  slightest  change  of  voice  or  look. 

In  July,  1823,  the  Blessingtons  established  themselves  at  the 
Palace  or  Villa  Belvidere,  on  the  Vornero,  one  of  the  most  beau 
tiful  residences  in  Naples,  surrounded  by  gardens  overlooking 
the  bay,  and  commanding  a  most  enchanting  view  of  its  exqui 
site  features.  Though  the  palace  was  furnished  suitably  for  a 
Neapolitan  prince,  Lady  Blessington  found  it  required  a  vast 
number  of  comforts,  the  absence  of  which  could  not  be  com 
pensated  by  beautifully  decorated  walls  and  ceilings,  marble 
floors,  pictures,  and  statues,  and  an  abundance  of  antiquated  so 
fas,  and  chairs  of  gigantic  dimensions,  carved  and  gilt.  The 
Prince  and  Princess  Belvidere  marveled  when  they  were  in 
formed  an  upholsterer's  services  would  be  required,  arid  a  vari 
ety  of  articles  of  furniture  would  have  to  be  procured  for  the 
wants  of  the  sojourners  who  were  about  to  occupy  their  mansion 
for  a  few  months.  The  rent  of  this  palace  was  extravagantly 
high ;  but  nothing  was  considered  too  dear  for  the  advantage  of 
its  sight  and  scenery. 

Lady  Blessington  thus  describes  her  new  abode  :  "  A  long 
avenue,  entered  by  an  old-fashioned  archway,  which  forms  part 
of  the  dwelling  of  the  intendente  of  the  Prince  di  Belvidere, 
leads  through  a  pleasure  ground  filled  with  the  rarest  trees, 
shrubs,  and  plants,  to  the  palazzo,  which  forms  three  sides  of  a 
square,  the  fourth  being  an  arcade  that  connects  one  portion  of 
the  building  with  the  other.  There  is  a  court-yard  and  fount 
ain  in  the  centre.  A  colonnade  extends  from  each  side  of  the 
front  of  the  palace,  supporting  a  terrace  covered  with  flowers. 
The  windows  of  the  principal  salons  open  on  a  garden  formed 
on  an  elevated  terrace,  surrounded  on  three  sides  by  a  marble 


92     SOCIETY  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  NAPLES. 

balustrade,  and  inclosed  on  the  fourth  by  a  long  gallery,  filled 
with  pictures,  statues,  and  alti  and  bassi  relievi.  On  the  top 
of  this  gallery,  which  is  of  considerable  length,  is  a  terrace,  at 
the  extreme  end  of  which  is  a  pavilion,  with  open  arcades,  and 
paved  with  marble.  This  pavilion  commands  a  most  enchant 
ing  prospect  of  the  bay,  with  the  coast  of  Sorrento  on  the  left ; 
Capri  in  the  centre,  with  Nisida,  Procida,  Ischia,  and  the  prom 
ontory  of  Misenum  to  the  right ;  the  foreground  filled  up  by 
gardens  and  vineyards.  The  odor  of  the  flowers  in  the  grounds 
around  this  pavilion,  and  the  Spanish  jasmine  and  tuberoses  that 
cover  the  walls,  render  it  one  of  the  most  delicious  retreats  in 
the  world.  The  walls  of  all  the  rooms  are  literally  covered'  with 
pictures  ;  the  architraves  of  the  doors  of  the  principal  rooms  are 
of  Oriental  alabaster  and  the  rarest  marbles  ;  the  tables  and  con 
soles  are  composed  of  the  same  costly  materials  ;  and  the  furni 
ture,  though  in  decadence,  bears  the  traces  of  its  pristine  splen 
dor.  Besides  five  salons  de  reception  on  the  principal  floor,  the 
palace  contains  a  richly-decorated  chapel  and  sacristy,  a  large 
salle  de  billard,  and  several  suites  of  bed  and  dressing  rooms."* 

Never  did  English  lady  of  refined  tastes  make  a  sojourn  in 
the  neighborhood  of  Pompeii  and  Herculaneum,  visit  the  various 
localities  of  Naples  and  its  vicinity,  carry  out  researches  of  an 
tiquarian  interest,  and  inquire  into  the  past  amid  the  ruins  of 
Pccstum  and  Beneventum,  Sorrento,  Amalfi,  Salerno,  Ischia,  and 
Procida,  and  Capri,  under  such  advantageous  circumstances  as 
Lady  Blessington. 

When  she  visited  Herculaneum  she  was  accompanied  by  Sir 
William  Gell ;  when  she  examined  museums  and  galleries  de 
voted  to  objects  of  art,  ancient  or  modern,  she  was  accompanied 
by  Mr.  Uwins,  the  painter,  or  Mr.  Richard  Westmacott,  the  sculp 
tor,  or  Mr.  Millingen,  the  antiquarian,  who  "  initiated  her  into 
the  mysteries  of  numismatics."  If  she  made  an  excursion  to 
Ptestum,  it  was  with  the  same  erudite  cicerone  ;  or  when  she 
had  an  evening  visit  to  the  Observatory,  it  was  in  the  company 
of  Mr.  Herschel  (now  Sir  John),  or  the  famous  Italian  astrono 
mer  Piazzi.  Or  if  she  went  to  Beneventum,  or  the  Torre  di 

*  The  Idler  in  Italy,  p.  247.     P;ir.  cd.,  1839. 


SOCIETY  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  NAPLES.     93 

Patria,  the  site  of  the  ancient  Liternum,  it  was  in  the  agreeable 
society  of  some  celebrated  savant. 

The  visit  to  Pompeii,  with  Sir  William  G-ell  as  cicerone,  has 
been  immortalized  by  Lady  Blessington  in  some  admirable  stan 
zas,  the  first  and  last  of  which  I  present  to  my  readers : 
"  Lonely  city  of  the  dead  ! 

Body  whence  the  soul  has  fled, 

Leaving  still  upon  thy  face 

Such  a  mild  and  pensive  grace 

As  the  lately  dead  display, 

While  yet  stamped  upon  frail  clay, 

Rests  the  impress  of  the  mind, 

That  the  fragile  earth  refined. 

*  #  *  #•  * 

"  Farewell,  city  of  the  dead  ! 

O'er  whom  centuries  have  fled, 

Leaving  on  your  buried  face 

Not  one  mark  time  loves  to  trace  ! 

Dumb  as  Egypt  corpses,  you 

Strangely  meet  our  anxious  view  ; 

Showing  to  the  eager  gaze 

But  cold  still  shades  of  ancient  days." 

Among  the  papers  of  Lady  Blessington,  I  found  some  beauti 
fully  written  verses  on  the  ruins  of  Psestum,  without  name  or 
date,  which  appear  to  have  been  sent  to  her  by  the  author  of 
them. 

Her  ladyship  visited  Paestum  in  May,  1824,  accompanied  by 
Mr.  Millingen,  Mr.  C.  Matthews,  and  Lord  Morpeth  ;  and  prob 
ably  these  lines  may  have  been  composed  by  one  of  her  com 
panions  on  that  occasion. 

P^STUM. 

"  'Mid  the  deep  silence  of  the  pathless  wild, 
Where  kindlier  nature  once  profusely  smiled, 
Th'  eternal  temples  stand  ;  unknown  their  age, 
Untold  their  annals  in  historic  page  ! 
All  that  around  them  stood,  now  far  away, 

Single  in  ruin,  mighty  in  decay !  * 

Between  the  mountains  and  the  neighb'ring  main, 
They  claim  the  empire  of  the  lonely  plain. 
In  solemn  beauty,  through  the  clear  blue  light, 
The  Doric  columns  rear  their  awful  height ! 


94     SOCIETY  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  NAPLES. 

Emblems  of  strength  untamed  !  yet  conquering  time 

Has  mellowed  half  the  sternness  of  their  prime ; 

And  bade  the  richer,  mid  their  ruins  grown, 

Imbrown  with  darker  hues  the  vivid  stone. 

Each  channeled  pillar  of  the  fane  appears 

Unspoiled,  yet  softened  by  consuming  years. 

So  calmly  awful !  so  serenely  fair  ! 

The  gazers  rapt  still  mutely  worship  there. 

Not  always  thus,  when  full  beneath  the  day, 

No  fairer  scene  than  Paestum's  lovely  bay ; 

When  her  light  soil  bore  plants  of  every  hue, 

And  twice  each  year  her  beauteous  roses  blew ; 

While  bards  her  blooming  honors  loved  to  sing, 

And  Tuscan  zephyrs  fanned  th'  eternal  spring. 

When  in  her  port  the  Syrian  moored  his  fleet, 

And  wealth  and  commerce  filled  the  peopled  street ; 

While  here  the  trembling  mariner  adored 

The  seas'  dread  sovereign,  Posidonia's  lord  ; 

With  native  tablets  decked  yon  hallowed  walls, 

Or  sued  for  justice  in  her  crowded  halls  ; 

There  stood  on  high  the  white-robed  Flamen,  there 

The  opening  portal  poured  the  choral  prayer ; 

While  to  the  searching  heaven  swelled  loud  the  sound, 

And  incense  blazed,  and  myriads  knelt  around. 

'Tis  past !  the  actors  of  the  plain  are  mute, 
E'en  to  the  herdsman's  call,  or  shepherd's  flute  ! 
The  toils  of  art,  the  charms  of  nature  fail, 
And  death  triumphant  rules  the  tainted  gale. 
From  the  lone  spot  the  affrighted  peasants  haste, 
A  wild  the  garden,  and  the  town  a  waste. 

But  they  are  still  the  same  :   alike  they  mock 

The  invader's  menace  and  the  tempest's  shock  ; 

And  ere  the  world  had  bowed  at  Csesar's  throne, 

Ere  yet  proud  Rome's  all-conquering  name  was  known, 

They  stood,  and  fleeting  centuries  in  vain 

Have  poured  their  fury  o'er  the  enduring  fane. 

Such  long  shall  stand,  proud  relics  of  a  clime 

Where  man  was  glorious,  and  his  works  sublime  ; 

While  in  the  progress  of  their  long  decay, 

Thrones  shrink  to  dust,  and  nations  pass  away."* 

*  I  visited  P;«stum  in  company  with  Mr.  Greenongh,  one  of  the  Vice  Presi- 
flmN  of  the  Geographical  Society,  and  Mr.  Burton,  the  architect,  in  1823,  a  short 


SOCIETY  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  NAPLES.     95 

I  accompanied  Lady  Blessington  and  her  party  on  the  occa 
sion,  I  think,  of  their  first  visit  to  Mount  Vesuvius.  The  account 
in  the  "  Idler  in  Italy"  of  the  ascent  is  given  with  great  liveli 
ness  and  humor,  but  the  wit  and  drollery  of  some  of  the  persons 
who  were  of  this  party  contributed  to  render  the  visit  one  of 
the  merriest,  perhaps,  that  ever  was  made  to  a  volcano,  and  to 
the  joyousness  of  the  expedition  altogether  I  think  her  ladyship 
has  hardly  done  justice. 

I  had  previously  made  a  very  singular  excursion  to  Vesuvius, 
accompanied  by  a  blind  gentleman,  who  used  to  boast  of  his 
having  come  from  England  expressly  to  see  an  eruption.  He 
was  certainly  recompensed  for  his  pains  by  having  an  opportu 
nity  afforded  him,  during  his  sojourn  in  Naples,  of  hearing  the 
bellowing  of  the  disemboguing  volcano,  of  the  greatest  violence 
that  had  occurred  in  recent  times. 

The  great  eruption  of  June,  1821,  was  witnessed  by  me.  I 
accompanied  to  the  mount  the  celebrated  blind  traveler,  Lieu 
tenant  Holman,  the  evening  on  which  the  violence  of  the  erup 
tion  was  at  its  greatest  height.  He  has  given  an  account  of  our 
night  ascent,  and  adventures  by  no  means  free  from  peril,  in  his 
"Narrative  of  a  Journey  in  France,  Italy,  Savoy,  &c.,  in  the 
years  1819,  1820,  and  1821,"  page  234.  We  set  off  from  Na 
ples  about  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  as  my  blind  companion 
says  in  his  work,  "  with  the  view  of  seeing  the  mountain  by 
time  only  before  the  murder  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hunt  in  that  vicinity.  No  traveler 
has  said  so  much  to  the  purpose  of  Paestum  in  so  few  words  as  Forsyth. 

"  On  entering  the  walls  of  Paastum  I  felt  all  the  religion  of  the  place.  I  trod 
as  on  sacred  ground.  I  stood  amazed  at  the  long  obscurity  of  its  mighty  ruins. 
They  can  be  descried  with  a  glass  from  Salerno,  the  high  road  of  Calabria  com 
mands  a  distant  view,  the  city  of  Capaccio  looks  down  upon  them,  and  a  few 
wretches  have  always  lived  on  the  spot  ;  yet  they  remain  unnoticed  by  the  best 
Neapolitan  antiquaries.  Pelegrino,  Capaccio,  and  Sanfelicc  wrote  volumes  on 
the  beaten  tracks  of  topography,  but  they  never  traveled. 

"  I  will  not  disturb  the  dreams  of  Paoli,  who  can  sec  nothing  here  but  the  work 
of  Tuscans  and  the  Tuscan  order  ;  nor  would  I,  with  other  antiquaries,  remount  to 
the  Sybarites,  and  ascribe  these  monuments — monuments  the  most  simple,  sage, 
austere,  energetic — to  a  race  the  most  opposite  in  character.  Because  the  Pa^stan 
Doric  differs  in  all  its  proportions  from  that  of  the  exaggeration  of  mass  which 
awes  every  eye,  and  a  stability  which,  from  time  unknown,  has  sustained  in  the 
air  these  ponderous  entablatures.  The  walls  are  fallen,  and  the  columns  stand  ; 
the  solid  has  failed,  and  the  open  resists," 


96  SOCIETY  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  NAPLES. 

moonlight."  Passing  through  Portici,  we  reached  Resina  about 
seven  o'clock,  and  at  the  base  of  the  mountain  took  a  conductor 
from  the  house  of  Salvatori.  Visitants  usually  ascend  on  asses 
two  thirds  of  the  way  toward  the  summit,  but  my  blind  friend 
preferred  walking,  "  to  see  things  better  with  his  feet."  We 
reached  the  hermitage  by  eight  or  nine  o'clock,  where  we  supped, 
and  did  great  justice  to  the  hermit's  fare.  The  eruption  was 
chiefly  of  light  ashes,  when  we  proceeded  upward  from  the 
hermitage,  and  the  road  or  path,  at  all  times  difficult,  was  now 
doubly  so  from  the  heavy  dust  and  scoria3,  interspersed  with 
large  and  dark  stones,  which  lay  all  along  it.  The  shower  of 
ashes  was  succeeded,  as  we  ascended,  by  torrents  of  red-hot  lava, 
that  streamed  over  the  crater  in  the  direction  of  the  wind,  and, 
like  a  river  of  molten  lead,  as  it  descended,  and  lost  its  bright 
red  heat,  flowed  down  not  impetuously,  but  slowly  and  gradu 
ally,  in  a  great  broad  stream,  perhaps  sixty  or  eighty  feet  wide, 
toward  the  sea  to  the  east  of  Resina.  We  proceeded  along  the 
edge  of  this  stream  for  some  distance,  and  my  blind  friend  form 
ed  his  notions  of  its  consistence,  rate  of  flowing,  and  tempera 
ture  by  poking  his  staff  in  this  stream  of  lava,  and  feeling  the 
charred  stick  when  he  removed  it.  The  great  crater  was  then 
in  repose.  At  length  we  reached  the  spot  where  a  great  fissure, 
somewhat  lower  than  the  crater,  was  emitting  torrents  of  lava 
and  sulphurous  vapors.  My  blind  friend  would  not  be  persua 
ded  to  remain  behind  when  the  guide  conducted  us  to  any  spot 
particularly  perilous,  and  especially  to  one  where  fire  and  ashes 
were  issuing  from  clefts  in  the  rock  on  which  we  walked.  He 
insisted  on  walking  over  places  where  we  could  hear  the  crack 
ling  effects  of  the  fire  on  the  lava  beneath  our  feet,  and  on  a 
level  with  the  brim  of  the  new  crater,  which  was  then  pouring 
forth  showers  of  fire  and  smoke,  and  lava,  and  occasionally 
masses  of  rock  of  amazing  dimensions,  to  an  enormous  height  in 
the  air.  A  change  of  wind  must  inevitably  have  buried  us,  ei 
ther  beneath  the  ashes  or  the  molten  lava.  The  huge  rocks 
generally  fell  back  into  the  crater  from  which  they  issued.  The 
ground  was  glowing  with  heat  under  our  feet,  which  often 
obliged  us  to  shift  our  position.  Our  guide  conducted  us  to  the 


SOCIETY  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  NAPLES,  97 

edge  of  a  crater,  where  a  French  gentleman  had  thrown  him 
self  in  about  two  months  previously.  He  had  written  some 
lines  in  the  travelers'  book  at  the  hermitage  on  his  ascent,  in 
dicative  of  the  old  fact  that  "  the  course  of  true  love  never  did 
run  smooth." 

The  view  of  the  Bay  of  Naples  and  of  the  distant  city  from 
the  summit  of  Vesuvius  on  a  beautiful  moonlight  night,  without 
a  cloud  in  the  sky,  such  as  we  had  the  good  fortune  to  enjoy, 
was  almost  magic  in  its  effect ;  such  serenity,  and  repose,  and 
beauty  in  perfect  stillness,  formed  a  striking  contrast  with  the 
lurid  glare  of  the  red-hot  masses  that  were  emitted  from  the  vol 
cano,  and  the  frightful  bellowings  of  the  burning  mountain  on 
which  we  stood. 

I  should  have  observed  that  there  are,  properly  speaking,  two 
summits,  one  westward, called  Somma,  the  other  South  Vesuvius. 
In  1667,  an  eruption  had  added  two  hundred  feet  to  the  craters 
elevation.  But  in  the  present  eruption  a  very  large  portion  of 
this  crater  had  fallen  in. 

We  got  back  to  Portici  at  three  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  to 
Naples  at  four. 

Lady  Blessington  has  given  some  account  of  her  "  descents 
into  the  graves  of  buried  cities,"  and  her  ascent  also  to  the  sum 
mit  of  Mount  Vesuvius.  In  some  of  these  visits  and  excursions 
I  had  the  pleasure  of  accompanying  her,  when  the  admirable 
and  erudite  cicerone  of  her  ladyship  was  Sir  "William  Gell.* 

Among  the  English  who  frequented  the  Palazzo  Belviiloro, 
the  following  may  be  enumerated  as  the  elite,  or  most  highly 
esteemed  of  the  visitors  there  :  Sir  "William  Drummond,  fefir 
William  Gell,  the  Honorable  Keppel  Craven,  Mr.  William  Ham- 

*  Herculaneum  was  founded  A.M.  2757,  sixty  years  before  the  siege  of  Troy, 
about  3092  years  ago.  It  was  destroyed  by  the  same  eruption  of  Vesuvius,  in  the 
year  79  A.D.,  which  buried  Pompeii.  Scarcely  any  more  than  a  mere  reference 
to  the  fact  of  the  destruction  of  either  city  is  to  be  found  in  Pliny,  or  any  ancient 
author. 

The  buried  cities  remained  undiscovered  till  1641  years  after  their  destruction. 

Herculaneum  had  been  successively  ruled  by  the  Etruscans,  Oscians,  Sam- 
nites,  Greeks,  and,  when  destroyed,  by  the  Romans.  The  original  founder  was 
said  to  be  the  Theban  Hercules.  Portici  and  Resina  are  built  over  the  buried  city. 

VOL.  I.— E 


»8     SOCIETY  OF  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  NAPLES. 

Iton,  the  British  minister  to  the  Neapolitan  court ;  Colonel  Cha- 
oner  Bisse,  the  Honorable  R.  Grosvenor,  Captain  Gordon,  broth- 
•r  of  Lord  Aberdeen  ;  Mr.  Matthias,  the  author  of  "  the  Pursuits 
f  Literature  ;"  Lord  Guilford,  Count  (now  Prince)  Paul  Lieven, 
!  ,ord  Ashley,  Mr.  Evelyn  Denison,  Mr.  Richard  Williams,  Sigrior 
'alvaggi,  a  distinguished  litterateur ;  the  Due  de  Rocco  Romano, 
vlarchese  Guiliano,  Due  de  Cazarano,  Lord  Dudley  and  Ward, 
,jord  Howden,  and  his  son  Mr.  Cradock  ;  later,  if  I  mistake  not, 
Jolonel  Caradoc,  the  Honorable  George  Howard,  the  present 
jord  Morpeth,  Mr.  Millingen,  the  eminent  antiquarian  ;  Mr. 
Charles  Matthews,  the  son  of  the  celebrated  comedian ;  Lord 
Ponsonby,  Prince  Ischitelli,  Mr.  J.  Strangways,  the  brother  of 
L,ord  Ilchester  ;  Mr.  H.  Baillie,  Mr.  Herschel,  the  astronomer ; 
Ir.  Henry  Fox  (now  Lord  Holland),  Mr.  J.  Townsend  (now  Lord 
;ydney),  Count  de  Camaldole,  General  Church,  General  Flores- 
m  Pepe,  Mr.  Richard  Westmacott,  the  Due  de  FitzJames,  Cas- 
nir  Delavigne,  Filangiere  (Prince  Satriani),  son  of  the  well- 
:nown  writer  on  jurisprudence  ;  Mr.  Bootle  Wilbraharn,  Jim., 
he  Abbe  Monticelli,  an  eminent  geologist ;  the  Archbishop  of 
Carento,  Sir  Andrew  Barnard,  Signor  Piazzi,  a  celebrated  as- 
'ronomer,  the  discoverer  of  the  planet  Ceres. 

The  situation  of  the  villa  Belvidere — the  lovely  prospect  from 
ihe  terrace  that  communicated  with  the  principal  saloon  —  the 
classic  beauty  of  the  house,  the  effect  of  the  tasteful  laying  out 
of  the  grounds — the  elegance  of  the  establishment,  and  the  pre 
cious  objects  of  modern  art,  of  an  ornamental  kind,  of  bijouterie, 
porcelain",  ivory,  gems  of  great  rarity,  and  vases  of  exquisite  form 
and  workmanship,  and  relics  too  of  antiquity,  of  great  value,  col- 
ected  by  Lady  Blessington  throughout  Italy,  or  presented  to  her 
by  connoisseurs  and  dilettante  like  Gell,  and  Millingen,  and 
Oodswell,  and  Drummond — it  would  be  difficult  to  exaggerate 
he  merits  of,  or  to  describe  adequately  the  effects  of,  so  many 
'xcellences  were  combined  in  the  admirable  tout  ensemble  of  that 
/ilia,  when  it  was  the  abode  of  the  Countess  of  Blessington. 

Who  ever  enjoyed  the  pleasures  of  her  elegant  hospitality  in 
that  delightful  abode,  and  the  brilliant  society  of  the  eminent 
persons  by  whom  she  was  habitually  surrounded  there,  and  can 


SOJOURN  IN  ROME.  99 

forget  the  scene,  the  hostess  and  the  circle,  that  imparted  to  the 
villa  Belvidere  some  of  the  Elysian  characteristics  that  poetry 
has  ascribed  to  a  neighboring  locality  ? 

Difficulties  with  the  proprietor  of  this  mansion  obliged  the 
Blessingtoris  to  quit  their  Neapolitan  paradise  on  the  YOUKTO 
for  the  villa  Gallo,  situated  on  another  eminence,  that  of  Capo 
di  Monte,  the  end  of  March,  1825,  and  there  they  remained  till 
February  the  following  year. 


CHAPTER  V. 

DEPARTURE  FROM  NAPLES,  SOJOURN  IN  ROME,  FLORENCE,  MILAN, 

VENICE,  AND  GENOA. RETURN  TO  PARIS. FEBRUARY,  1  826, 

TO  JUNE,  1829. 

THE  Blessingtons  and  their  party  having  made  Naples  their 
head-quarters  for  upward  of  two  years  and  a  half,  took  their  de 
parture  the  end  of  February,  1826,  and  arrived  at  Rome  the  be 
ginning  of  March  following. 

The  departure  froiii  Naples  was  sudden,  and  the  cause  for  that 
suddenness  is  not  explained  in  the  journals  of  Lady  Blessington. 

The  Blessingtons  arrived  in  Rome  from  Naples  the  beginning 
of  March.  They  remained  in  Rome  till  about  the  middle  of  the 
month,  and  then  set  out  for  Florence. 

We  find  them  in  the  month  of  April  in  that  city,  where  Lord 
and  Lady  Normanby  were  then  entertaining  the  inhabitants 
with  theatricals.  They  remained  in  Florence  nearly  nine 
months.  In  December  they  were  once  more  at  Genoa,  but  he 
who  had  made  their  previous  sojourn  there  so  agreeable  was 
then  numbered  with  the  dead.  Before  the  close  of  the  month 
we  find  them  established  at  Pisa,  where  they  had  the  pleasure 
of  meeting  the  Due  and  Duchesse  de  Guiche. 

Lady  Blessington  had  met  Lord  John  Russell  in  Genoa.  She 
had  known  his  lordship  in  England,  and  thought  very  highly 
both  of  his  talents  and  the  amiability  of  his  disposition.  With 
the  exception  of  the  Duke  of  York,  who  was  an  especial  favorite 
of  her  ladyship,  Lord  Grey,  and  perhaps  Lord  Durham,  none  of 


IQQ  SOJOURN  IN  ROME. 

the  persons  who  frequented  the  abode  of  the  Blcssingtous  in  f>t. 
James's  Square  were  spoken  of  in  such  warm  terms  of  regard 
and  esteem  by  Lady  r>lessington  as  Lord  John  Russell.  She 
thus  speaks  of  him  in  her  Naples  diary: 

"lie  came  and  dined  with  us,  and  was  in  better  health  and 
spirits  than  I  remember  him  when,  in  England,  lie  is  exceed 
ingly  well  read,  and  has  a  quiet  dash  of  humor,  that  renders  his 
observations  very  amusing.  AHien  the  reserve  peculiar  to  him 
is  thawed,  lie  can  be  very  agreeable  ;  and  the  society  of  his  Ge 
noese  friends  having  had  this  eJlect,  he  appears  here  to  much 
more  advantage  than  in  London.  Good  sense,  a  considerable 
power  of  discrimination,  a  highly-cultivated  mind,  and  great 
equality  of  temper,  are  the  characteristics  of  Lord  John  Russell ; 
and  these  peculiarly  lit  him  for  taking  a  distinguished  part  in 
public  life.  The  only  obstacle  to  his  success  seems  to  me  to 
be  the  natural  reserve  of  his  manners,  which,  by  leading  people 
to  think  him  cold  and  proud,  may  preclude  him  from  exciting 
that  warm  sentiment  of  personal  attachment  rarely  accorded, 
except  to  those  whose  uniform  friendly  demeanor  excites  and 
strengthens  it ;  and  without  this  attraction,  it  is  difficult,  if  not 
impossible,  for  a  statesman,  whatever  may  be  the  degree  of  es 
teem  entertained  for  his  character,  to  have  devoted  friends  and 
partisans,  accessories  so  indispensable  for  one  who  would  fill  a 
distinguished  rile  iu  public  life. 

"  Lord  John  Russell  dined  with  us  ajrain  yesterday,  and  no 
body  could  be  more  agreeable.  He  should  stay  t\vo  or  three 
years  among  his  Italian  friends,  to  wear  oil'  forevor  the  reserve 
that  shrouds  so  many  good  qualities,  and  conceals  so  many  agree 
able  ones  ;  and  he  would  then  become  as  popular  as  he  deserves 
to  be.  But  he  will  return  to  England,  be  again  thrown  into  the 
clique  which  political  differences  keep  apart  from  that  of  their 
opponents,  become  as  cold  and  distant  as  formerly  ;  and  people 
will  exclaim  at  his  want  of  cordiality,  and  draw  back  from  what 
they  consider  to  be  his  haughty  reserve."* 

The  Blessingtons  remained  in  Pisa  till  the  latter  part  of  June, 
1827.  TYc  find  them  again  in  Florence  from  July  to  the  No 
vember  following. 

*  The  Idler  in  Italy,  Par.  cd,,  1839,  p.  370. 


SOJOURN  IN  FLORENCE.  101 

At  Florence,  in  1826  and  1827,  Lady  Blessington  was  ac 
quainted  with  Demidoff,  "  the  Russian  Crcesus  ;"  with  Lord  l)il- 
lon,  the  author  of  an  epic  poem, "  Eccelino,  the  Tyrant  of  Padua," 
a  production  more  complacently  read  aloud  by  his  lordship  on 
various  occasions  than  often  patiently  listened  to  by  his  hear 
ers  ;  the  Prince  Borgfyese,  a  "  noble  Roman,"  remarkable,  for  his 
obesity,  the  number  and  size  of  his  gold  rings,  and  the  circum 
stance  of  his  being  the  husband  of  the  sister  ofl^apoleon — ''La 
petite  et  Mignonne  Pauline;"  Lamartine,  "  very  good-looking 
and  distinguished  in  his  appearance,  who  dressed  so  perfectly 
like  a  gentleman  that  one  never  would  suspect  him  to  be  a 
poet ;"  Cornte  Alexandre  de  la  Borde,  and  his  son  M.  Leon  de 
la  Borde  ;  Mr.  Jerningham,  the  son  of  Lord  iStailord  ;  Henry 
Anson,  "  a  line  young  man,  on  his  way  to  the  East"  (and  never 
destined  to  return  from  it) ;  Mr.  Strangways,  in  the  absence  of 
Lord  Burghersh  officiating  as  Charge  d'Aflaires  ;  Mr.  Francis 
Hare,  "  gay,  clever,  and  amusing;"  and  in  May,  1827,  AYaltcr 
Savage  Landor,  "  one  of  the  most  remarkable  writers  of  his 
day,  as  well  as  one  of  the  most  remarkable  and  original  of 
men."  This  was  the  first  time  of  meeting  with  Mr.  Landor,  and 
(iuring  the  sojourn  of  the  Blessingtons  in  Florence  there  were 
few  days  they  did  not  see  him.  The  strongest  attachment  that 
comes  within  the  legitimate  limits  and  bonds  of  literary  friend 
ships  was  soon  formed  between  Lady  Blessington  and  the  cel 
ebrated  author  of  "  Imaginary  Conversations." 

Hallam,  the  historian,  the  young  Lord  Lifibrd,  "  formed  for 
the  dolcfi  far  niente  of  Italian  life,"  with  his  imploring  expres 
sion  of  Laissez  moi  tranquille  in  his  good-natured  face,  were 
then  likewise  residing  there  ;  and  Lord  and  Lady  Normanby 
also  were  still  sojourning  there  in  1827.  Lord  Xormanby,  dur 
ing  his  sojourn  there,  was  a  frequent  visitor  at  the  Blessingtons'. 
His  taste  for  theatricals  was  quite  in  unison  with  Lord  Blessing- 
ton's,  while  his  taste  for  literature,  his  polished  and  fascinating 
manners,  his  desire  to  please,  arid  disposition  to  oblige,  and 
most  agreeable  conversation,  furnished  peculiar  attractions  for 
Lady  Blessington.  Lord  Normanby  was  then  thirty  years  of 
age,  in  the  incipient  stage  of  fashionable  authorship,  beginning: 


102  SOJOURN  IN  FLORENCE. 

to  write  novels,  in  the  habit  of  contributing  to  albums,  ambi 
tious  of  politics,  and  exhibiting  his  turn  for  them  by  occasional 
prose  articles  for  revie\vs  and  magazines. 

The  riessingtons,  though  they  had  retraced  their  steps  to 
ward  the  North,  were  now  veering  between  Florence,  Genoa, 
and  Pisa,  and  seem  to  have  seldom  turne-4  their  thoughts  home 
ward.  St.  James's  Square  was  beginning  to  disappear  from 
their  recollections.  Those  connected  with  Lord  Blessington  by 
the  ties  of  blood  residing  in  his  own  country  were  seldom 
thought  of;  new  scenes  and  new  acquaintances  appear  to  have 
taken  fast  hold  of  his  tastes  and  feelings. 

AYhen  Lord  Blessington  quitted  England  in  September,  1822, 
he  had  four  children;  his  eldest  son,  Charles  John  GJardiner, 
born  in  Portman  Square,  London,  the  3d  of  February,  1810,  was 
then  twelve  years  of  <ige. 

Kis  eldest  daughter,  Lmilie  R,osalie  Hamilton,  commonly  call 
ed  Lady  Mary  Gardiner,  born  in  Manchester  Square  the  24th 
of  June,  1811,  was  then  (iu  1822)  eleven  years  of  age.  His 
legitimate  daughter,  the  lion.  Harriet  Anne  Jane  Frances,  com 
monly  called  Lady  Harriet  Gardiner,  born  in  Seymour  Place  the 
5th  of  August,  1812,  was  then  ten  years  of  age  ;  and  his  legiti 
mate  son,  the  Hon.  Luke  Gardiner,  commonly  called  Lord  Mount- 
joy, born  in  1813,  was  then  nine  years  of  age.  The  eldest  son, 
Charles  John  Gardiner,  had  been  placed  at  school  ;  the  two 
daughters  and  the  yonnsr  Lord  Mountjoy  had  been  left  under 
the  care  of  Lady  Harriet  Gardiner,  the  sister  of  Lord  Blessing- 
ton,  who  was  then  residing  in  Dublin,  at  the  house  of  the  Bishop 
of  Ossory,  the  brother-in-law  of  Lord  Blessington,  in  Merrion 
Square,  South. 

The  Dowager  Lady  Mountjoy  (the  second  wife  of  the  first 
Lord  Mountjoy)  was  then  also  living  in  Dublin.* 

The  Gth  of  April,  1823,  Lady  Blessington  mentions  in  her  diary 
at  Genoa  the  news,  having  just  reached  Lord  Blessington  Vy 
*  In  August,  1839,  the  Right  Hon.  Margaret  Viscountess  Mountjoy  died  in 
DuMin  :it  ;>n  advr.nced  age.  She  was  the  second  wife  of  the  Right  lion.  Luke 
(jardincr,  Lord  Viscount  Mountjoy,  father  of  the  late  Earl  of  Blessington  by  a 
former  marriage.  She  married  Viscount  Mountjoy  in  1793,  and  became  a  widow 
in  1798.  She  resided  chiefly  in  Dublin  for  many  years  previous  to  her  decease. 


SOJOURN  IN  GENOA. 


103 


courier  from  London,  of  the  death  of  his  son  and  heir,  the  young 
Lord  Mouutjoy,  on  the  26th  of  March  preceding. 

The  boy  was  only  in  his  tenth  year.  He  was  the  only  legiti 
mate  son  of  Lord  Blessington,  and  by  his  death  his  lordship  was 
enabled  to  make  a  disposition  of  his  property  of  a  very  strange 
nature — a  disposition  of  it  which  it  is  impossible  to  speak  of  in 
any  terms  except  those  of  reprehension,  and  of  astonishment  at 
the  fatuity  manifested  in  the  arrangements  made  by  his  lord 
ship,  and  in  the  contemplated  disposal  of  a  daughter's  hand 
without  reference  to  her  inclinations  or  wishes,  or  the  feelings 
of  any  member  of  her  family. 

Within  a  period  of  three  months  from  the  time  of  the  death 
of  his  only  son,  on  the  22d  of  June,  1823,  Lord  Blessington  sign 
ed  a  document  purporting  to  be  a  codicil  to  a  former  will,  mak 
ing  a  disposition  of  his  property  and  a  disposal  of  the  happines? 
of  one  or  other  of  his  then  two  living  daughters — an  arrange 
ment  at  once  imprudent,  unnatural,  and  wanting  in  all  the  con 
sideration  that  ought  to  have  been  expected  at  the  hand  of  a 
father  for  the  children  of  a  deceased  wife.  Partial  insanity 
might  explain  the  anomalies  that  present  themselves  in  the 
course  taken  by  Lord  Blessington  in  regard  to  those  children ; 
and  my  firm  conviction,  the  result  of  my  own  observation,  is, 
that  at  the  period  in  question,  when  this  will  was  made,  Lord 
Blessington  could  not  be  said  to  be  in  a  state  of  perfect  sanity 
of  mind  ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  was  laboring  under  a  particulai 
kind  of  insanity,  manifested  by  an  infatuation  and  infirmity  of 
mind  in  his  conduct  with  respect  to  his  family  affairs,  though 
quite  sane  on  every  other  subject,  which  unfitted  him  to  dispost 
of  his  children  at  that  juncture,  and  had  assumed  a  more  de 
cided  appearance  of  monomania  after  that  disposal  was  made 

At  Genoa,  June  the  22d,  1823,  Lord  Blessington  made  a  codi 
cil  to  his  will,  wherein  it  is  set  forth  that  General  Albert  D'Or- 
say  (the  father  of  the  Count  Alfred)  had  given  his  consent  t 
the  union  of  his  son  with  a  daughter  of  his  lordship.  But  it  i? 
evident,  from  the  terms  of  this  document,  that  it  was  then  op 
tional  with  the  count  to  select  either  of  the  daughters  of  hit 
lordship . 


104  SOJOURN  IN  GENOA. 

CODICIL. 

"  GENOA,  June  2d,  1823. 

"  Having  had  the  misfortune  to  lose  my  beloved  son  Luke 
Wellington,  and  having  entered  into  engagements  with  Alfred, 
Comte  D'0rsay,that  an  alliance  should  take  place  between  him 
and  my  daughter,  which  engagement  has  been  sanctioned  by 
Albert,  Count  D'Orsay,  general,  &c.,  in  the  service  of  France, 
this  is  to  declare  and  publish  my  desire  to  leave  to  the  said 
Alfred  D'Orsay  my  estates  in  the  city  and  county  of  Dublin 
(subject,  however,  to  the  annuity  of  three  thousand  per  annum, 
which  sum  is  to  include  the  settlement  of  one  thousand  per  an 
num  to  my  wife,  Margaret,  Countess  of  Blesiiiton,  subject  also 
to  that  portion  of  debt,  whether  by  annuity  or  mortgage,  to  which 
my  executor  and  trustee,  Luke  Norman,  shall  consider  them  to 
be  subjected),  for  his  and  her  use,  whether  it  be  Mary  (baptized 
Smilie)  Rosalie  Hamilton,  or  Harriet  Anne  Jane  Frances,  and 
to  their  heirs  male,  the  said  Alfred  and  said  Mary,  or  Harriet, 
forever  in  default  of  issue  male,  to  follow  the  provisions  of  the 
will  and  testament. 

"  I  make  also  the  said  Alfred  D'Orsay  sole  guardian  of  my  son 
Charles  John,  and  my  sister,  Harriet  Gardiner,  guardian  of  my 
daughters,  until  they,  the  daughters,  arrive  at  the  age  of  sixteen, 
at  which  age  I  consider  that  they  will  be  marriageable. 

"  I  also  bequeath  to  Luke  Norman  my  estates  in  the  county 
of  Tyrone,  &c.,  in  trust  for  my  son,  Charles  John,  whom  I  desire 
to  take  the  name  of  Stewart  Gardiner,  until  he  shall  arrive  at 
the  age  of  twenty-five,  allowing  for  his  education  such  sums  as 
Alfred  D'Orsay  may  think  necessary,  and  one  thousand  per  an 
num  from  twenty-one  to  twenty-five. 

"  Done  at  Genoa,  life  being  uncertain,  at  eight  o'clock  on  the 
morning  of  Monday,  June  the  second,  one  thousand  eight  hund 
red  and  twenty -three.  BLESIXTOX." 

I  find  in  the  papers  of  Lady  Blessington  a  letter  of  a  noble 
lord,  dated  September  20th,  1836,  inclosing  a  copy  of  the  codicil 
above  mentioned,  sent  to  him  for  an  opinion,  and  the  following 
reference  to  it  of  the  great  legal  authority.  "  Inclosed  is  the 


LORD  BLESSilNGTON'S  WILL. 


105 


opinion.  I  regret  that  it  is  not,  and  can  not  be  more  favor 
able  : 

"  I  have  read  the  statement,  will,  and  codicil,  and  am  of  opin 
ion  that  the  legatee  is  liable  for  the  rent  and  taxes,  and  subject 
to  all  the  covenants  of  the  lease." 

At  the  date  of  this  letter,  Lord  Blessington  had  been  dead 
about  six  years. 

On  the  31st  of  August,  1823,  Lord  Blessington  executed  his 
last  will  and  testament,  formally  carrying  out  the  intentions,  in 
respect  to  the  marriage  of  one  of  his  daughters,  briefly  express 
ed  in  the  preceding  codicil.  This  will  was  executed  only  two 
months  later  than  the  document  above  referred  to  ;  and  it  mer 
its  attention,  that  the  provision  made  for  the  Countess  of  Bless 
ington,  in  the  former  codicil,  of  an  annuity  of  £3000,  inclusive 
of  a  preceding  marriage  settlement  of  £1000  a  year,  is  reduced 
in  the  will  of  the  31st  of  August  to  £2000  a  year,  including  the 
marriage  settlement  of  .£1000  per  annum  ;  so  that  in  after 
years,  when  it  was  generally  believed  that  Lady  Blessington  had 
an  income  of  £3000  a  year,  she  in  reality  had  only  £2000. 

EXTRACTED    FROM    THE     REGISTRY     OF     HIS    MAJESTY^     COURT     OF 
PREROGATIVE     IN    IRELAND. 

"  This  is  the  last  will  arid  testament  of  me,  Charles  John,  Earl 
of  Blessington,  of  that  part  of  the  united  kingdom  called  Ireland. 
I  give  Luke  Norman,  Esquire,  for  and  during  the  time  he  shall 
continue  agent  of  my  estates,  in  the  county  and  city  of  Dublin, 
and  in  the  county  of  Tyrone,  twelve  hundred  pounds  per  annum, 
in  lieu  of  receivers'  fees.  I  appoint  Alfred  D'Orsay,  Count  of 
],  in  France,  Luke  Norman,  Esquire,  and  Alexander 
Worthington,  Esquire,  my  executors  ;  and  I  give  unto  each  of 
them  one  thousand  pounds.  I  give  to  Isabella  Birnly,  Michael 
McDonough,  and  John  Bullock,  one  hundred  pounds  each.  I 
give  and  devise  my  real  and  personal  estate  to  said  Alfred  D'Or 
say,  Luke  Norman,  and  Alexander  Worthington,  for  the  follow 
ing  purposes  :  First,  for  the  payment  of  two  thousand  pounds, 
British,  per  annum  (inclusive  of  one  thousand  pounds  settled  on 
her  at  the  time  of  my  marriage),  to  my  wife  Margarette,  or 

E2 


106  LORD  BLESSINGTON'S  WILL. 

Margaret,  Countess  of  Blessington  ;  and  I  give  to  her  all  her  own 
jewels,  requesting  that  she  may  divide  my  late  wife's  jewels 
between  my  two  daughters  at  the  time  of  her  decease.  1  give 
to  Robert  Power  and  Mary  Anne  Power  one  thousand  pounds 
each.  I  give  to  my  daughter  Harriet  Anne  Jane  Frances,  com 
monly  called  Lady  Harriet,  born  at  my  house  at  Seymour  Place, 
London,  on  or  about  the  3d  day  of  August,  1812,  all  my  estates 
in  the  county  and  city  of  Dublin,  subject  to  the  following  charge. 
Provided  she  intermarry  with  my  friend,  and  intended  son-in- 
law,  Alfred  D'Orsay,  I  bequeath  her  the  sum  of  ten  thousand 
pounds  only.  1  give  to  rny  daughter  Emilic  Rosalie  Hamilton, 
generally  called  Lady  Mary  Gardiner,  born  in  Manchester  Square, 
on  the  24th  June,  1811,  whom  I  now  acknowledge  and  adopt  as 
my  daughter,  the  sum  of  twenty  thousand  pounds. 

"  In  case  the  said  Alfred  D'Orsay  intermarries  with  the  said 
Emilic,  otherwise  Mary  Gardiner,  1  bequeath  to  her  my  estates 
in  the  county  and  city  of  Dublin.  The  annuity  of  two  thousand 
pounds  per  annum,  British,  to  be  paid  to  my  beloved  wife  out 
of  the  said  estates.  I  give  to  my  son  Charles  .John,  who  1  de 
sire  may  take  the  name  of  Stewart  Gardiner,  born  in  Portman 
Square,  on  the  3d  day  of  February,  1810,  all  my  estates  in  the 
county  of  Tyrone,  subject  to  the  following  charges  ;  also  the  re 
version  of  my  Dublin  estates,  in  case  of  male  issue  of  said 
daughters.  In  case  of  male  issue,  lawfully  begotten,  I  leave 
these  estates  to  the  second  son  of  Alfred  D'Orsay  and  my  daugh 
ter  ;  or  if  only  one  son,  to  him,  in  case  of  failure  to  male  issue, 
to  go  to  the  male  issue  of  rny  other  daughter.  My  estates  are 
to  be  subject  in  the  first  instance  to  the  payment  of  my  debts. 
I  give  to  my  wife  the  lease  of  my  house  in  London,  at  the  ex 
piration  of  which  the  furniture,  books,  ice.,  &c.,  are  to  be  re 
moved  to  the  intended  residence  at  Mountjoy  Forest ;  and  I  di 
rect  that  the  said  house  be  built  according  to  the  plan  now  laid 
down,  and  do  empower  my  said  executors  to  borrow  money  for 
the  said  purpose.  I  give  to  rny  wife  all  rny  carriages,  her  para 
phernalia  and  plate.  I  give  to  my  son  Charles  John  rny  plate, 
wardrobe,  swords,  cVc.,  &c,.,  &c.  I  appoint  Alfred  D'Orsay 
guardian  of  rny  son  Charles  John  until  he  arrives  at  the  age  of 


RETURN  TO  ROME. 


10; 


twenty-five  years,  the  settlement  of  twelve  thousand  pounds  t< 
be  null  and  void  on  his  obtaining  the  Tyrone  estates.     I  appoin' 
my  beloved  wife  guardian  of  my  daughter  Harriet  Anne  ;  an 
I  appoint  my  sister  Harriet  guardian  of  my  daughter  commonl 
called  Lady  Mary.     I  give  to  Isabella  McDougal,  of  Perth,  or, 
hundred  pounds  per  annum  for  her  life,  it  being  bequeathed  hi 
by  my  first  wife,  Mary  Campbell,  Viscountess  Mountjoy.     I  giv 
to  the  National  Gallery,  intended  to  be  formed  in  London  ui: 
der  royal  protection,  my  picture  of  the  '  Three  Graces,'  by  Si 
Joshua  Reynolds,  with  a  desire  that  '  The  gift  of  Charles  John 
Earl  of  Blessington,'  may  be  affixed  to  the  said  picture,  as  ai 
encouragement  to  others  to  contribute  to  the  said  collection.     . 
give  to  my  sister,  Harriet  Gardiner,  five  hundred  pounds  pc: 
annum  for  her  natural  life.     I  revoke   all  other  wills  by  m 
made,  and  declare  this  to  be  my  last  will  and  testament.     I, 
witness  whereof,  I  have  to  this  my  last  will,  contained  in  fiv 
sheets  of  paper,  set  to  the  first  four  my  hand,  and  to  this,  th 
fifth  and  last,  my  hand  and  seal,  this  31st  day  of  August,  1822 
Blessington  seal." 

The  marriage,  then,  of  Count  D'Orsay  with  a  daughter  qf  Lor 
Blessington  we  find  determined  on  at  Genoa  so  early  as  the  2 
of  June,  1823  ;  and  it  was  not  till  the  1st  of  December,  1827 
four  years  and  a  half  subsequently  to  that  determination,  tha 
the  long-contemplated  event  took  place. 

In  December,  1827,  the  Blessingtons  returned  to  Rome  froii 
Florence,  after  a  sojourn  there  of  upward  of  four  months. 

They  engaged  the  two  principal  floors  of  the  Palazzo  Negro 
ni,  for  six  months  certain,  at  the  rent  of  100  guineas  a  month 
(at  the  rate  of  1200  guineas  a  year).*     This  abode  though  norn 
inally  furnished,  had  to  be  further  provided  with  hired  "  mei 
lies"  the  cost  of  which  was  about  twenty  pounds  a  month.    Tl 
seeds  of  the  Encumbered  Estates  Court  were  being  sown  in  It;: 
ly,  as  well  as  in  other  Continental  countries,  pretty  extensive] 
some  thirty  years  ago  by  our  Irish  landed  proprietors. 

*  While  this  enormous  expenditure  for  house  accommodation  was  going  on 
Italy,  the  noble  mansion  in  St.  James's  Square,  in  London,  and  the  Irish  re 
dence,  Mountjoy  HOU?P,  on  the  Tyrone  estate,  were  kept  up  by  Lord  Blessingt< 


108  SOJOURN  IN  ROME. 

In  the  month  of  March,  1828,  on  my  return  from  the  East,  I 
visited  the  Blessingtons  at  the  Palazzo  Negroni,  and  there,  for 
the  first  time,  I  beheld  the  recently  married  daughter  of  the 
Earl  of  Blessington. 

Had  I  been  a  member  of  their  family,  I  could  not  have  been 
received  with  greater  kindness  and  warmth  of  feeling. 

During  rny  stay  in  Rome,  I  dined  with  them  most  days,  and 
passed  overy  evening  at  their  conversaziones. 

Their  salons,  as  at  Naples,  were  regularly  filled  every  even 
ing  with  the  elite  of  the  distinguished  foreigners  and  natives, 
artists  and  literati  of  the  Eternal  City. 

The  Count  D'Orsay  had  been  married  the  1st  of  December, 
1827,  to  Lady  Harriet  Frances  Gardiner,  who  was  then  fifteen 
years  of  age  and  four  months. 

It  was  an  unhappy  marriage,  and  nothing  to  any  useful  pur 
pose  can  be  said  of  it  except  that  Lord  Blessington  sacrificed  his 
child's  happiness  by  causing  her  to  marry,  without  consulting 
her  inclinations  or  her  interests. 

Taken  from  school  without  any  knowledge  of  the  world,  ac 
quaintance  with  society,  or  its  usages  and  forms,  wholly  inexpe 
rienced,  transferred  to  the  care  of  strangers,  arid  naturally  in 
disposed  to  any  exertion  that  might  lead  to  efforts  to  conciliate 
them,  she  was  brought  from  her  own  country  to  a  distant  land, 
to  wed  a  man  she  had  never  seen  up  to  the  period  of  her  arri 
val  in  Italy,  where,  Avithin  a  few  weeks  of  her  first  meeting  with 
that  foreign  gentleman,  who  had  been  on  terms  of  intimacy  with 
her  father,  she  was  destined  to  become  his  bride. 

Lady  Harriet  was  exceedingly  girlish-looking,  pale  and  rather 
inanimate  in  expression,  silent  and  reserved  ;  there  was  no  ap 
pearance  of  familiarity  with  any  one  around  her ;  no  air  or  look 
of  womanhood,  no  semblance  of  satisfaction  in  her  new  position 
were  to  be  observed  in  her  demeanor  or  deportment.  &he  sel 
dom  or  never  spoke,  she  was  little  noticed,  she  was  looked  on 
as  a  mere  school-girl ;  I  think  her  feelings  were  crushed,  re 
pressed,  and  her  emotions  driven  inward  by  the  sense  of  slight 
and  indifference,  and  by  the  strangeness  and  coldness  of  every 
thing  aronnd  her ;  and  she  became  indifferent,  and  strange  arid 


SOJOURN  IN  ROME.  109 

cold,  and  apparently  devoid  of  all  vivacity  and  interest  in  socie 
ty,  or  in  the  company  of  any  person  in  it.  People  were  mistaken 
in  her,  and  she,  perhaps,  was  also  mistaken  in  others.  Her  fa 
ther's  act  had  led  to  all  these  misconceptions  and  misconstruc 
tions,  ending  in  suspicions,  animosities,  aversions,  and  total  es 
trangements. 

In  the  course  of  a  few  years,  the  girl  of  childish  mien  arid 
listless  looks,  who  was  so  silent  and  apparently  inanimate,  be 
came  a  person  of  remarkable  beauty,  spirituclle,  and  intelligent, 
the  reverse  in  all  respects  of  what  she  was  considered  where 
she  was  misplaced  arid  misunderstood.* 

A  few  days  before  I  quitted  Rome  for  England,  I  received  a 
kind  letter  from  Lord  Blessington  to  his  friend  John  Gait,  which 
I  never  had  an  opportunity  of  delivering'.  This  letter  of  his 
lordship  was  dated  Rome,  March,  6,  1828. 

ci  Rome,  March  6,  1828. 

"  MY  DEAR  GALT, — The  bearer  of  this  letter,  Mr.  Madden,  is  a  gentleman 
of  literary  acquirement  and  talent.  He  has  lately  returned  from  the  East,  and, 
besides  an  account  of  deserts  and  Arabs,  Turks  and  Greeks,  he  will  be  able 
to  give  you  an  account  of  your  old  friends  at  Rome. 

"•  Believe  me,  yours  most  truly,  BLESSINGTON. 

"John  Gait,  Esq." 

May  the  7th,  1828,  Mr.  Mills  gave  a  farewell  dinner  to  the 
Blessingtons  at  his  villa  Palatina,  a  day  or  two  before  their  de 
parture  from  Rome.  A  party  of  the  friends  of  the  Blessingtons 
were  invited  to  meet  them,  and  the  final  meeting  and  separa 
tion  were  any  thing  but  joyous. 

"  Schemes  of  future  meeting,  too  faintly  spoken  to  cheat  into 
hope  of  their  speedy  fulfillment,  furnished  the  general  topic ;  and 
some  were  there,  already  stricken  with  maladies,  the  harbin 
gers  of  death — and  they,  too,  spoke  of  again  meeting  !  Yet  who 

*  Lady  Harriet  D'Orsay  and  her  aunt,  Miss  Gardiner,  visited  the  Continent  in 
the  latter  part  of  1833  or  beginning  of  1834.  In  September,  1835,  Lady  Harriet 
and  her  sister,  Miss  Emily  Gardiner,  were  in  Dublin,  residing  with  their  aunt. 
Shortly  after,  Miss  Emily  Gardiner  was  married  to  a  Mr.  Charles  White.  Mr. 
White  some  years  ago  traveled  a  good  deal,  principally  in  the  East,  wrote  some 
rtorks  of  light  literature,  and  an  account  of  bis  travels.  As  a  gentleman  of  good 
education,  agreeable  manners  and  conversation,  he  was  known  to  the  frequenters 
of  Gore  House  many  years  ajro.  He  had  resided  in  many  parts  of  the  Continent, 
and  latterly  altogether  in  Belgium.  Mrs.  White  died  in  Paris  about  ten  years  ago. 


HO  SOJOURN  IN  ROME. 

can  say  whether  the  young  and  the  healthy  may  not  be  sum 
moned  from  life  before  those  whose  infirmities  alarm  us  for  their 
long  continuance  in  it? 

"And  there  were  with  me  two  persons,  to  whom  every  ruin 
and  every  spot  in  view  were  '  familiar  as  household  words  ;' 
men  who  had  explored  them  all,  with  the  feelings  of  the  histo 
rian,  the  research  of  the  antiquarian,  and  the  reflections  of  the 
philosopher — Sir  "William  Gell  and  Mr.  Dodwell ;  both  advanced 
toward  the  downward  path  of  life,  every  step  of  which  rapidly 
abridges  the  journey,  and  consequently  reminds  parting  friends 
of  the  probability  that  each  farewell  may  be  the  last.  There 
was  our  host,  seated  in  a  paradise  of  his  own  creation,  based  on 
the  ruins  of  the  palace  of  the  Caesars,  yet,  forgetful  for  the  mo 
ment  of  the  mutability  of  fortune  of  which  such  striking  memo 
rials  were  before  his  eyes,  thinking  only  that  we  were  on  the 
eve  of  parting.  Mrs.  Dodwell  was  there,  her  lustrous  eyes  often 
dimmed  by  a  tear  of  regret  at  our  separation,  but  her  rare  beau 
ty  in  no  way  diminished  by  the  sadness  that  clouded  a  face  al 
ways  lovely." 

Sir  "William  Gell  and  Count  Paul  Esterhazy  carne  to  the  Pa 
lazzo  Negroni  to  see  the  Blessingtons  take  their  departure. 
"  Poor  Gell !"  says  Lady  Blessington  in  her  diary,  "  I  still  seem 
to  feel  the  pressure  of  his  hand,  and  the  tears  that  bedewed 
mine,  as  he  pressed  it  to  his  lips,  and  murmured  his  fears  that 
we  should  meet  no  more. 

"  *  You  have  been  visiting  our  friend  Drummond's  grave  to 
day,'  said  he,  '  and  if  you  ever  come  to  Italy  again,  you  will  find 
me  in  mine.' ' 

This  was  in  the  early  part  of  May,  1828,  and  in  the  month  of 
April,  1836,  the  accomplished,  witty,  ever  jocund  and  facetious 
Sir  "William  Gell  was  in  his  grave. 

Lady  P)lessington,  quitting  Rome,  speaks  of  her  sad  present 
iment  that  she  should  see  the  Eternal  City  no  more.  She  de 
scants  in  her  diary  on  the  uncertainty  of  life,  and  especially  in 
the  case  of  those  older  or  more  infirm  than  ourselves,  as  if  we 
were  more  exempt  from  danger  and  death  than  they.  "  Strange 
delusion !  that  while  we  tremble  for  those  dear  to  us,  the  con- 


DEPARTURE  FROM  ROME.  m 

viction  of  the  irrevocable  certainty  of  our  own  dissolution  is  less 
vividly  felt !  we  picture  our  own  death  as  remote,  and  conse 
quently  less  to  be  dreaded ;  and  even  when  most  impressed  with 
the  awful  conviction  that  we,  like  all  other  mortals,  must  pass 
away,  though  our  reason  acknowledges  the  truth,  our  hearts  re 
fuse  to  believe  that  the  event  may  be  near." 

The  "  event"  was  then  twenty-one  years  distant  from  her  own 
door  of  life. 

From  Pbome  the  Blessingtons  proceeded  to  Loretto,  where  they 
visited  the  shrine  of  the  Santa  Casa.  "  The  pious  votaries  of 
superstition,"  the  folly  of  their  munificence,  wasting  jewels  "  to 
decorate  an  idol,"  the  tawdry  appearance  of  "  the  glittering  toy 
shop,"  "  the  heterogeneous  mixture  of  saints  and  sybils,"  of 
pagan  rites  and  superstitious  practices,  came  in  for  a  pretty  large 
share  of  the  customary  reprehension  of  English  travelers  from 
Lady  Blessington,  the  value  of  which,  of  course,  mainly  depends 
on  the  sincerity  of  the  reprover. 

In  the  present  instance,  however,  Lady  Blessington  was  cer 
tainly  not  so  much  proclaiming  her  own  sentiments  as  writing 
up  to  the  readable  mark  of  those  who  were  to  be  her  public. 

From  Loretto  the  travelers  proceeded  to  Ancona  and  Ravenna, 
and  in  the  latter  place  a  spectacle  was  witnessed  which  Lady 
Blessington  has  described  in  her  published  diary  ;  but  one  very 
striking  circumstance  connected  with  it  is  not  mentioned  in  the 
diary,  but  was  told  to  me  by  her  ladyship. 

"Various  were  the  conjectures  we  formed  as  to  the  probable 
cause  of  the  desertion  of  the  silent  and  solitary  city  through 
which  we  were  pacing,  and  vainly  did  AVC  look  around  in  search 
of  some  one  of  whom  to  demand  an  explanation  of  it ;  when,  on 
turning  the  corner  of  a  larger  street  or  place  than  wre  had  hith 
erto  passed,  the  mystery  was  solved  in  a  manner  that  shocked 
our  feelings  not  a  little,  for  we  suddenly  carne  almost  in  per 
sonal  contact  with  the  bodies  of  three  men  hanging  from  bars 
erected  for  the  purpose  of  suspending  them.  Never  did  I  be 
hold  so  fearful  a  sight !  The  ghastly  faces  were  rendered  still 
more  appalling  by  the  floating  matted  locks  and  long  beards, 
which,  as  the  bodies  were  agitated  into  movement  by  the  wind, 


vISIT  T0  PADUA  AND  VERONA. 

moved  backward  and  forward.  The  eyes  seemed  starting  from 
their  sockets,  and  the  tongues  protruded  from  the  distended  lips, 
as  if  in  horrid  mockery.  I  felt  transfixed  by  the  terrible  sight, 
from  which  I  could  not  avert  my  gaze  ;  and  each  movement  of 
the  bodies  seemed  to  invest  them  with  some  new  features  of 
horror.  A  party  of  soldiers  of  the  Pope  guarded  the  place  of 
execution,  and  paced  up  and  down  with  gloomy  looks,  in  which 
fear  was  more  evident  than  disgust.  Within  view  of  the  spot 
stood  the  tomb  of  Dante,  whose  '  Inferno'  offers  scarcely  a  more 
hideous  picture  than  the  one  presented  to  our  contemplation. 
The  papal  uniform,  too,  proclaiming  that  the  deaths  of  these 
unfortunate  men  had  been  inflicted  by  order  of  him  who  pro 
fessed  to  be  the  vicar  of  the  Father  of  Mercy  on  earth,  added 
to  the  horror  of  the  sight."* 

Lady  Blessington  informed  me  there  was  another  person  who 
witnessed  this  horrid  spectacle,  and  who  was  more  strongly  af 
fected  by  it  than  any  of  the  party.  That  person  was  a  noble 
marquis,  of  some  celebrity  in  Ireland,  who,  traveling  the  same 
route  as  the  Blessingtons,  had  left  his  own  caleche,  and  entered 
that  of  Lord  and  Lady  Blessington  ;  and  beholding  the  dead 
bodies  suspended  from  the  gallows,  became  deadly  pale  and 
almost  insensible. 

Ferrara  and  Padua  were  next  visited  by  the  Blessingtons  on 
their  route  to  Venice.  In  the  lattev  city  they  fixed  their  res 
idence  for  several  weeks  ;  and  the  journals  of  Lady  Blessington 
abound  with  evidence  of  the  excellent  use  she  made  of  her  time 
and  talents  in  visiting  remarkable  monuments  and  recording 
her  observations. 

At  Venice  the  Blessm  ions  again  made  the  acquaintance  of 
their  old  friend,  Walter  ravage  Landor.  Verona  was  next  vis 
ited  by  them  on  their  route  to  Milan. 

In  her  diary  she  speaks  of  having  spent  several  hours  in  the 
Ambrosian  Library,  conducted  through  it  by  the  Abbe  Bentivo- 
glio,  a  man  of  great  erudition,  whom  Lady  Blessington  had 
known  in  Naples,  a  friend  of  the  good  Archbishop  of  Tarento. 
The  library  contains  50,000  volumes  and  10,000  manuscripts; 

*  Tho  Idler  ia  Italy,  vol.  iii.,  p.  33. 


THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  MILAN.  113 

and  among  its  treasures,  the  "Virgil"  that  had  "belonged  to  Pe 
trarch,  in  which  is  his  note  to  Laura.  The  next  object  that  ex 
cited  Lady  Blessington's  attention  was  a  lock  of  golden  hair  of 
Lucretia  Borgia,  the  daughter  of  Alexander  the  Sixth.  Once 
before  she  saw  a  lock  of  that  same  golden  hair  on  the  breast 
of  Byron,  consisting  of  about  twenty  fair  hairs,  resembling  fine 
threads  of  gold,  which  he  had  obtained  from  the  ringlet  at  the 
Ambrosian  Library,  and  always  wore. 

Nine  or  ten  letters  from  Lucretia  Borgia  to  the  Cardinal  Bem- 
bo  are  placed  in  a  casket,  with  the  lock  of  hair  she  sent  to  him. 
Lady  Blessington  makes  no  mention  in  her  journal  of  having 
been  given  a  small  tress  of  this  golden  hair  of  the  too  celebrated 
Lucretia  ;  but  that  precious  gift  came  into  my  hands  among  the 
other  papers  of  Lady  Blessington  ;  and  in  her  hand-writing  of 
the  envelope  that  incloses  it,  it  is  stated,  that  the  hair  in  ques 
tion  was  given  to  her  by  the  Abbe  Bentivoglio,  of  the  Ambrosian 
Library,  a  descendant  of  the  Bembo  family. 

There  is  a  remarkable  reference  to  the  hair  of  Lucretia  Bor 
gia  in  the  "  New  Monthly  Magazine  :" 

"  Auburn  is  a  rare  and  glorious  color,  and  I  suspect  will  al 
ways  be  more  admired  by  us  of  the  North,  where  the  fair  com 
plexions  that  recommend  golden  hair  are  as  easy  to  be  met 
with  as  they  are  difficult  in  the  ^outh.  Ovid  and  Aiiacreon, 
the  two  greatest  masters  of  the  ancient  world  in  painting  ex 
ternal  beauty,  both  seem  to  have  preferred  it  to  golden,  not 
withstanding  the  popular  cry  in  the  other's  favor :  unless,  in 
deed,  the  hair  they  speak  of  is  too  dark  in  its  ground  for  auburn. 

"  Perhaps  the  true  auburn  is  something  more  lustrous  through 
out,  and  more  metallic  than  this.  The  cedar,  with  the  bark 
stripped,  looks  more  like  it.  At  all  events,  that  it  is  not  the 
golden  hair  of  the  ancients  has  been  proved  to  rue  beyond  a 
doubt  by  a  memorandum  in  my  possession,  worth  a  thousand 
treatises  of  the  learned.  This  is  a  solitary  hair  of  the  famous 
Lucretia  Borgia,  whom  Ariosto  has  so  praised  for  her  virtues,  and 
whom  the  rest  of  the  world  is  so  contented  to  call  a  wretch.  It 
was  given  rne  by  a  wild  acquaintance,  who  stole  it  from  a  lock 
of  her  hair  preserved  in  the  Ambrosian  Library  at  Milan.  On 
the  envelope  he  put  <i  happy  motto, 


114  THE  BLESSINGTONS  AT  MILAN. 

*' '  And  beauty  draws  us  with  a  single  hair.' 

"If  ever  hair  was  golden,  it  is  this.  It  is  not  red,  it  is  not 
yellow,  it  is  not  auburn  ;  it  is  golden,  and  nothing  else  ;  and, 
though  natural-looking  too,  must  have  had  a  surprising  appear 
ance  in  the  mass.  Lucrctia,  beautiful  in  every  respect,  must 
have  looked  like  a  vision  in  a  picture — an  angel  from  the  sun."* 

As  an  example  of  the  happy  style,  and  just  views,  and  cor 
rect  judgment  of  Lady  .Dlcssington,  1  may  cite  the  following  pas 
sage,  in  reference  to  a  visit  to  the  subterranean  shrine  of  St. 
Carlo  Borromeo,  in  the  Duomo,  the  sarcophagus  of  rock  crystal 
which  preserves  the  mortal  remains  of  the  renowned  prelate  in 
pontifical  attire  : 

"  Carlo  Borromeo  was  one  of  the  most  remarkable  men  to 
whom  Italy  has  ever  given  birth  ;  and  those  who  might  be  dis 
posed  to  undervalue  the  canonized  saint,  must  feel  a  reverence 
for  the  memory  of  the  man,  whose  patriotism,  courage,  and  char 
ity  entitle  his  name  to  the  esteem  of  posterity.  Elevated  to 
the  rank  of  cardinal  at  the  early  age  of  twenty-two,  his  conduct 
justified  the  partiality  of  his  uncle,  Pope  Pius  IV.,  who  conferred 
this  dignity  on  him.  As  a  scholar  no  less  than  as  a  divine  was 
this  excellent  man  distinguished  ;  but  his  courageous  and  un 
ceasing  exertions  during  the  plague  that  ravaged  his  country  in 
1576  are  beyond  all  praise.  These  are  remembered  with  a 
feeling  of  lively  admiration,  that  the  costly  trappings  and  brill 
iant  diamonds  which  decorate  his  remains  might  fail  to  awaken 
for  the  saint;  and  we  turned  from  the  crystal  sarcophagus  arid 
its  glittering  ornaments  to  reflect  on  the  more  imperishable  mon 
ument  of  his  virtues — the  fame  they  have  left  behind. 

•'  I  could  not  contemplate  the  crucifix  borne  by  this  good  and 
great  man  in  the  procession  during  the  fearful  plague  without 
a  sentiment  of  profound  reverence.  It  is  carefully  preserved 
under  a  glass  case,  and,  I  confess,  appears  to  me  to  be  a  far 
more  befitting  monument  than  the  costly  sarcophagus  of  rook 
crystal  to  the  glory  of  him  who,  actuated  by  his  deep  faith  in 
it,  was  enabled  to  fulfill  duties  from  which  the  less  pious  and 
charitable  shrank  back  in  terror. "f 

*  New  Monthly  Mag.,  part  iii.,  1825.       t  The  Idler  in  Italy,  vol.  iii.,  p.  299. 


RESIDENCE  IN  PARIS.  H5 

From  Milan  the  Blessingtoris  turned  their  steps  at  length  in 
a  homeward  direction,  at  least  toward  Paris,  and  at  the  close  of 
1828  once  more  found  themselves  in  their  old  quarters  at  Ge- 
noa.  Five  years  previously,  Byron  often  stood  conversing  with 
Lady  Blessington  on  the  balcony  of  her  hotel,  or  walked  about 
the  gardens  of  it  with  her.  The  several  spots  where  she  re 
membered  to  have  seen  him  distinctly  recalled  him  to  her  mem 
ory.  She  again  seemed  to  look  upon  him,  to  see  his  features, 
to  perceive  his  form,  "  to  hear  the  sound  of  that  clear,  low,  and 
musical  voice,  never  more  to  be  heard  on  earth."  But  one  day, 
while  these  sweot  and  bitter  fancies  were  presenting  themselves 
to  her  imagination,  she  saw  a  young  lady,  an  English  girl,  who 
resembled  Byron  in  an  extraordinary  degree,  accompanied  by 
an  elderly  lady.  That  English  girl  was  "  Ada,  sole  daughter 
.of  my  house  and  heart,"  and  the  elderly  lady  was  her  mother, 
the  widow  of  Lord  Byron. 

The  City  of  Palaces  had  few  attractions  on  this  last  visit  for 
Lady  Blessington. 

One  episode  more  in  the  Italian  journals  is  narrated,  and  we 
come  to  the  concluding  line  :  "  We  have  bidden  farewell  to  our 
old  and  well-remembered  haunts  at  Genoa,  and  to-morrow  we 
leave  it,  and  perhaps  forever!" 

Here  ends  the  second  phase  in  the  career  I  have  before  refer 
red  to — the  Italian  life  of  Lady  Blessington. 


CHAPTER  VI. 

RETURN  TO  PARIS  IN  JUNE,  1828. RESIDENCE  THERE. DEATH 

OF  LORD  BLESSIXGTON. DEPARTURE  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

FOR  ENGLAND  IN  NOVEMBER, 1830. 

IN  June,  1828,  the  Blessingtons  arrived  in  Paris,  at  the  ex 
piration  of  six  years  from  the  period  of  their  former  sojourn 
there.  Their  first  visitors  were  the  Due  and  Duchesse  de 
Guiche  ;  the  latter  "  radiant  in  health  and  beauty,"  the  Due 
looking,  as  he  always  did,  "  more  distingue  than  any  one  else — 
the  perfect  beau  ideal  of  a  gentleman." 


116  RESIDENCE  IN  PARIS. 

The  Blcssingtons  took  up  their  abode  in  the  Hotel  de  Terasse, 
Rue  de  Rivoli.  After  some  time  they  rented  the  splendid  man 
sion  of  the  Mareehal  Xey,  in  the  Rue  de  Bourbons,  the  princi 
pal  apartments  of  which  looked  on  the  Seine,  and  commanded 
\  a  delightful  view  of  the  Tuilleries  Gardens.  This  hotel  was  a 
type  of  the  splendor  that  marked  the  dwellings  of  the  imperial 
I  noblesse. 

The  rent  of  this  hotel  was  enormously  high,  and  the  expense 
which  the  new  inmates  went  to  in  adding  to  the  splendor  of  its 
decorations  and  furniture  was  on  a  scale  of  magnificence  more 
commensurate  with  the  income  of  a  prince  of  some  vieUe  cuitr 
than  with  that  of  an  Irish  landlord. 

AYith  the  aid  of ''  those  magicians,"  the  French  upholsterers, 
the  Hotel  Xcy  soon  assumed  a  wonderful  aspect  of  renewed 
splendor.  The  principal  drawing-room  had  a  carpet  of  dark 
crimson,  with  a  gold-colored  border,  with  wreaths  of  flowers  of 
brightest  hues.  The  curtains  were  of  crimson  satin,  with  em 
bossed  borders  of  gold  color,  and  the  »sofas,  bergeres,  fauteuils, 
•UK!  chairs,  were  richly  carved  and  gilt,  and  covered  with  satin, 
to  correspond  with  the  curtains.  Gilt  consoles  and  chiffonicres, 
on  which  marble  tops  were  placed  wherever  they  could  be  dis 
posed  ;  larjje  mirrors,  gorgeous  buhl  cabinets,  costly  pcndulcs  of 
bronze,  magnificent  candelabras,  abounded  in  the  long  suite  of 
salons,  boudoirs,  and  sitting-rooms.  The  furniture  of  the  bed 
room  was  kept  a  secret  by  Lord  Blessington  till  quite  completed, 
in  order  to  give  a  surprise  to  her  ladyship — when  its  surpassing 
splendor  was  to  burst  upon  her  all  at  once — at  the  first  view  of 
this  apartment.  ';  The  only  complaint  I  ever  have  to  make  of 
his  taste,"  observes  her  ladyship,  "  is  its  too  great  splendor.  .  . 
.  .  .  .  "\\  c  feel  like  children  with  a  new  plaything  in  our  beau 
tiful  house  ;  but  how,  after  it,  shall  we  ever  be  able  to  reconcile 
ourselves  to  the  comparatively  dingy  rooms  in  >St.  James's 
Square,  which  no  furniture  or  decoration  could  render  any  thing 
like  the  Hotel  Key?"* 

At  length, ';  the  scheme  laid  by  Lord  Blessington"  to  surprise 
his  lady — "  for  he  delighted  in  such  plans" — was  revealed  on 

Th<-  Idler  in  Franco,  vol.  j.,  p.  117. 


RESIDENCE  IN   IRAKIS.  117 

the  doors  of  the  chambre  a  coucher  and  dressing-room  being 
thrown  open.  "  The  whole  fitting  up,"  says  Lady  Blessington, 
"  is  in  exquisite  taste  ;  and,  as  usual,  when  my  most  gallant  of 
all  gallant  husbands  that  it  ever  fell  to  the  happy  lot  of  woman 
to  possess  interferes,  no  expense  has  been  spared.  The  bed, 
which  is  silvered  instead  of  gilt,  rests  on  the  backs  of  two  large 
silver  swans,  so  exquisitely  sculptured  that  every  feather  is  in 
alto-relievo,  and  looks  as  fleecy  as  those  of  the  living  bird. 
The  recess  in  which  it  is  placed  is  lined  with  white  fluted  silk, 
bordered  with  blue  embossed  lace  ;  and  from  the  columns  that 
support  the  frieze  of  the  recess,  pale  blue  silk  curtains,  lined 
with  white,  are  hung,  which,  who  ti  drawn,  conceal  the  recess 
altogether." 

In  one  of  her  letters  she  enlarges  on  this  subject. 

"A  silvered  sofa  has  been  made,  to  fit  the  side  of  the  room 
opposite  the  fire-place,  near  to  which  stands  a  most  inviting  Lcr- 
gcrc.  An  escritoire  occupies  one  panel,  a  book-stand  the  other, 
and  a  rich  coffer  for  jewels  forms  a  pendant  to  a  similar  one  for 
lace  or  India  shawls.  A  carpet  of  uncut  pile,  of  a  pale  blue,  a 
silver  lamp,  and  a  Psyche  glass  ;  the  ornaments,  silvered,  to  cor 
respond  with  the  decorations  of  the  chamber,  complete  the  fur 
niture.  The  hangings  of  the  dressing-room  are  of  blue  silk, 
covered  with  lace,  and  trimmed  with  rich  frills  of  the  same  ma 
terial,  as  are  also  the  dressing-stands  and  ehaire  longnc,  and  the 
carpet  and  lamp  are  similar  to  those  of  the  bed.  A  toilet-table 
stands  before  the  window,  and  small  jardinieres  are  placed  in 
front  of  each  panel  of  looking-glass,  but  so  low  as  not  to  impede 
a  full  view  of  the  person  dressing  in  this  beautiful  little  sanc 
tuary.  The  salle  de  bain  is  draped  with  white  muslin,  trimmed 
with  lace  ;  and  the  sofa  arid  the  lergere.  arc  covered  with  the 
same.  The  bath  is  of  marble,  inserted  in  the  floor,  with  which 
its  surface  is  level.  On  the  ceiling  over  it  is  a  painting  of  Flora, 
scattering  flowers  with  one  hand,  while  from  the  other  is  sus 
pended  an  alabaster  lamp  in  the  form  of  a  lotus." 

Poor  Lady  Blessington,  summing  up  the  wonderful  effects  of 
the  various  embellishments  and  decorations,  the  sensations  pro 
duced  by  such  luxuriant  furniture,  coffers  for  jewels  and  India 


118  RESIDENCE  IN  PARIS. 

shawls,  gorgeous  hangings,  and  glittering  ornaments  of  every 
kind,  observes  :  "  The  effect  of  the  whole  is  chastely  beautiful, 
and  a  queen  could  desire  nothing  better  for  her  own  private 
apartments." 

The  gilt  frame-work  of  the  bed,  resting  on  the  backs  of  the 
large  silver  swans,  it  does  not  do  to  think  of  when  visiting  the 
Mountjoy  Forest  estate  in  Tyrone,  that  did  belong  to  the  late 
Earl  of  Blesskigton,  when  one  enters  the  cabin  of  one  of  the 
now  indigent  peasantry,  from  the  sweat  of  whose  brow  the 
means  were  derived  that  were  squandered  in  luxury  in  foreign 
lands,  luxury  on  a  pai  with  any  Oriental  voluptuousness  of  which 
we  read  in  the  adornment  of  palaces. 

Lord  Blessington,  when  fitting  up  the  Hotel  Key  in  this  sump 
tuous  manner,  was  co-operating  very  largely  indeed  with  others 
of  his    order,  equally  improvident   and  profuse,  in  laying  the 
I    foundation  of  the  Encumbered  Estates'  Court  Jurisdiction  in 
Ireland. 

We  are  reminded,  by  the  preceding  account  of  the  fitting  up 
of  the  Hotel  Ney  for  the  Blessingtons,  of  the  imperial  pomp  of 
one  of  the  palaces  of  Napoleon,  a  short  time  only  before  1m 
downfall.  At  Fontainebleau,  soon  after  the  abdication  of  the  em 
peror,  Haydon  visited  the  palace,  and  thus  describes  the  mag 
nificence  which  was  exhibited  in  the  decoration  and  furniture 
of  that  recent  sojourn  of  imperial  greatness  : 

"The  chateau  I  found  superb,  beyond  any  palace  near  Paris. 
It  was  furnished  with  fine  taste.  Napoleon's  bed  hung  with 
the  richest  Lyons  green  velvet,  with  painted  roses,  golden  fringe 
a  foot  deep  ;  a  footstool  of  white  satin,  with  gold  stars  ;  the  top 
of  the  bed  gilt,  with  casque  and  ostrich  plumes,  and  a  golden 
eagle  in  the  centre  grappling  laurel.  Inside  the  bed  was  a  mag 
nificent  mirror,  and  the  room  and  ceiling  were  one  mass  of  gold 
en  splendor.  The  panels  of  the  sides  were  decorated  in  chiaro 
scuro  with  the  heads  of  the  greatest  men. 

"  No  palace  of  any  sultan  of  Bagdad  or  monarch  of  India  ever 
exceeded  the  voluptuous  magnificence  of  these  apartments." 

Shortly  before  the  passing  of  the  Catholic  Emancipation  Act, 
Lady  Blessington  received  at  Paris  a  letter  from  Lord  Rosslyn, 


VIEWS  ON  THE  IMPROVEMENT  OF  IRELAND.  119 

urging  the  attendance  of  Lord  Blessington  in  his  place  in  Par 
liament,  and  his  support  of  the  Emancipation  Act. 

Lord  Blessington,  on  receipt  of  Lord  Rosslyn's  letter,  imme 
diately  proceeded  from  Paris  to  London,  expressly  to  give  his 
vote  in  favor  of  the  great  measure  of  Emancipation. 

"  His  going  to  England/'  observes  Lady  Blessington,  '*  at  this 
moment,  when  he  is  lar  from  well,  is  no  little  sacrifice  of  per 
sonal  comfort ;  but  never  did  lie  consider  self  when  a  duty  was 
to  be  performed.  I  wish  the  question  was  carried,  and  he  safe 
ly  back  airain.  What  would  our  political  friends  say  if  they 
knew  how  strongly  I  urged  him  not  to  go,  but  to  send  his  proxy 
to  Lord  Rosslyn?"* 

\\  hile  Lord  Blessington  remained  in  London,  i  had  the  pleas 
ure  of  seeing  him  on  several  occasions.  A  day  or  two  before 
his  departure  from  London,  I  breakfasted  with  him  at  his  resi 
dence  at  St.  James's  -Square. 

I  never  saw  him  to  more  advantage,  or  more  deeply  interest 
ed  on  any  public  matter,  than  he  seemed  to  be  in  the  measure 
he  had  come  over  to  support,  and  which  he  deemed  of  the  high 
est  importance  to  the  true  interests  of  Ireland. 

Whatever  the  defects  may  have  been  in  his  character,  in  one 
respect  he  was  certainly  faultless  :  he  had  a  sincere  love  for  his 
country  and  for  his  countrymen. 

The  following  fctateracnt  of  his  opinions  on  the  means  of  bet 
tering  the  condition  oi  the  country  was  made  to  me  four  years 
previously  to  the  period  above-mentioned,  when  presenting  me 
with  a  letter  of  introduction  to  the  British  minister  at  Constan 
tinople.! 

"  I  wish  you  would,  at  Constantinople  or  Smyrna,  turn  your 
thoughts  to  the  subject  of  Ireland  ;  but  it  is  a  diincult  task  to 

*  The  Idler  in  France,  vol.  ii.,  p.  G. 

t  "Naples,  August  15th,  1824. 

"  MY  DEAR  SIR, — I  send  you  the  letter  for  Lord  Strangford,  which  I  hope  may 
be  useful  to  you.  I  trust  the  experiment  you  are  about  to  make  will  be  success 
ful.  You  will  have  the  advantage,  at  least,  of  seeing  the  world ;  and  a  medical 
man  has  very  great  opportunities  of  seeing  the  interior  of  Turkish  modes  of  life. 
Wishing  you  health  and  prosperity,  I  remain,  yours  very  truly, 

"  BLESSINGTON. 

"R.  R.  Madden,  Esq." 


120  MEWS  OX  THE  IMPROVEMENT  OF  IRELAND. 

encounter,  as  you  say,  for  an  Irishman  indignant  at  many  acts 
of  former  oppression  and  injustiec.  Upon  the  subject  of  repeal 
of  the  "Union,  I  fear  it  would  be  worse  than  a  negative  measure. 
"We  are  impoverished  in  money  and  talent.  England  has  a  su- 
perabundaney  of  the  one,  and  a  sufficiency  of  the  other,  if  she 
will  apply  her  materials  to  our  good,  ^end  the  Parliament  back 
to  Dublin,  and  that  city  will,  perhaps,  flourish  again  ;  but  1  fear 
the  same  e fleet  could  not  be  produced  through  the  kingdom  ; 
and  if,  to  forward  the  views  which  I  think  absolutely  necessary 
for  Ireland,  the  Commons  imposed  heavy  taxes,  being  refused 
aid  from  England,  the  people  would  have  cause  for  dissatisfac 
tion,  and  an  Irishman's  mode  of  expressing  it  is  blows,  and  not 
words.  Let  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  of  Ireland  separate  it 
self  in  toto  from  the  Pope,  and  receive  from  the  British  Parlia 
ment  a  respectable  revenue.  Establish  a  better  mode  of  edu 
cating  the  priesthood,  take  away  the  tithes,  and  pay  the  Reform 
ed  Church  out  of  the  public  purse.  Admit  Catholics  to  the 
houses  of  Parliament  and  the  Bench,  at  the  same  time  establish 
ing  throughout  Ireland  an  extensive  gendarmerie,  not  for  polit 
ical,  but  policial  purposes,  Make  the  nobility  and  gentry  live 
on  their  estates  or  sell  them.  Give  a  grant  sufficient  to  cut  ca- 
iials  in  all  directions.  Establish  co]onies  of  industrious  citizens 
in  what  are  now  barren  districts.  Let  there  be  neither  Ribbon- 
men,  Free-masons,  or  Orangemen.  Let  the  offenders  against 
the  public  peace,  of  whatever  party,  be  sent  to  the  colonies. 
Let  the  middling  classes  be  taught  that  public  money  is  levied 
for  the  public  good,  and  not  for  individual  advantage,  and  then 
Ireland  will  be,  what  it  should  be  from  its  situation  and  with  its 
natural  advantages,  a  gem  in  the  ocean." 

His  lordship  had  returned  from  London  only  a  few  days,  when, 
one  forenoon,  feeling  himself  slightly  indisposed,  he  took  some 
spoonfuls  of  eau  de  Melisse  in  water,  and  rode  out,  accompa 
nied  by  his  servant,  in  the  heat  of  the  day,  along  the  Champs 
Elysees. 

lie  had  not  proceeded  far  when  he  was  suddenly  attacked  by 
apoplexy,  and  was  carried  home  in  a  state  of  insensibility,  where 
all  means  wexv,  vrorteil  to  in  vain  for  his  relief. 


LORD  BLESSINGTON'S  DEATH. 


121 


On  the  23d  of  May,  1829,  thus  suddenly  died  Charles  James 
Gardiner,  second  Lord  Blessington,  in  his  forty-sixth  year.  He 
was  the  only  surviving  son  of  the  first  marriage  of  Viscount 
Mountjoy. 

At  the  age  of  sixteen  he  succeeded  his  father,  who  was  slain 
at  Ross,  June  5th,  1798.  He  was  elected  a  representative  Peer 
for  Ireland  about  1809,  and  was  advanced  to  his  earldom,  June 
22d,  1816. 

Lord  Blessington's  remains  were  conveyed  to  Ireland,  arid  de 
posited  in  the  family  vault,  in  St.  Thomas's  Church,  Marlbor- 
ough  Street,  where  his  father's  remains  were  "buried,  and  also 
those  of  his  first  wife  ;  of  his  son  and  heir,  the  Hon.  Luke  Will 
iam  Gardiner;  of  his  sister  Margaret,  the  wife  of  the  Hon.  John 
Hely  Hutchinson ;  of  his  sister  Louisa,  wife  of  the  Right  Rev. 
Dr.  Fowler,  Lord  Bishop  of  Ossory  ;  and  of  his  sister,  the  Hon. 
Harriet  Gardiner.  In  the  church  there  is  only  one  mural  tablet 
bearing  an  inscription  in  memory  of  any  member  of  the  Bless 
ington  family. 

To  the  loved  Memory 
Of  the  HONORABLE  MARGARET,  Wife  of 

JOHN  HELY  HUTCHINSON,  ESQ., 

Daughter  of  Luke  Gardiner,  Viscount  Mountjoy, 

Who  fell  at  New  Ross,  in  1798, 

At  the  head  of  his  Regiment : 
She  died  October  13,  1825,  aged  29  years. 

The  remains  of  the  husband  of  this  lady,  the  Right  Hon.  John 
Hely  Hutchinson,  third  Earl  of  Donoughmore,  were  deposited  in 
the  same  vault,  September  17,  1851.  The  earl  died  in  his  sixty- 
fourth  year. 

In  one  of  Mr.  Landor's  unpublished  "  Imaginary  Conversa 
tions,"  in  which  the  discoursers  are  Lord  Mountjoy,  the  father  of 
the  Earl  of  Blessington,  and  Lord  Edward  Fitzgerald,  there  are 
two  notes  written  in  1829,  immediately  after  the  death  of  Lord 
Blessington.  In  the  first  note  Mr.  Landor  observes : 

"  Lord  Mountjoy  was  killed  in  the  beginning  of  the  insurrec 
tion  of  1798  ;  he  left  an  only  son,  the  Earl  of  Blessington,  who 
voted  for  the  Union  in  the  hope  that  it  would  be  beneficial  to 


122  LETTER  OF  MR.  LAN  DOR. 

Ireland,*  though  the  project  had  suspended  the  erection  of  sev 
eral  streets  and  squares  on  his  estate  in  Dublin,  and  it  was  proved 
to  him  that  he  must  lose  by  it  two  thirds  of  his  rent-roll  ;  he 
voted  likewise  in  defense  of  Queen  Caroline,  seeing  the  insuffi 
ciency  of  the  evidence  against  her,  and  the  villainy  of  the  law 
officers  of  the  crown  :  he  esteemed  her  little,  and  was  person 
ally  attached  to  the  king.  For  these  votes,  and  for  all  he  ever 
gave,  he  deserves  a  place,  as  well  as  his  father,  in  the  memory 
of  both  nations." 

The  second  note  thus  refers  to  the  recent  death  of  Lord  Bless- 
ington. 

u  Scarcely  is  the  ink  yet  dry  upon  my  paper,  when  intelligence 
reaches  me  of  the  sudden  death  of  Lord  Blcssington. 

"  Adieu,  most  pleasant  companion  !  Adieu,  most  warm-heart 
ed  friend  !  Often  and  long,  and  never  with  slight  emotion,  shall 
I  think  of  the  many  hours  we  have  spent  together  ;  the  light 
seldom  ending  gravely  ;  the  graArer  always  lightly. 

"  It  will  be  well,  and  more  than  I  can  promise  to  myself,  if 
my  regret  at  your  loss  shall  hereafter  be  quieted  by  the  assur 
ance  which  she,  who  best  knew  your  sentiments,  has  given  me, 
that  by  you,  among  the  many,  I  was  esteemed  and  beloved  among 
the  few." 

On  the  news  of  the  death  of  Lord  Blessihgton  reaching  Mr. 
Landor,  he  addressed  the  following  lines  to  the  countess  : 

<;  Baths  of  Lucca,  June  6. 

"  DEAR  LADY  BLESSIXGTOX. — If  I  defer  it  any  longer,  I  know  not  how  or 
when  I  shall  be  able  to  fulfill  so  melancholy  a  duty.  The  whole  of  this  day  I 
have  spent  in  that  torpid  depression,  which  you  may  feel  without  a  great  ca 
lamity,  and  which  others  can  never  feel  at  all.  Every  one  that  knows  me 
knows  the  sentiments  I  bore  toward  that  disinterested,  and  upright,  and  kind- 
hearted  man,  than  whom  none  was  ever  dearer  or  more  delightful  to  his 
friends.  If  to  be  condoled  with  by  many,  if  to  be  esteemed  and  beloved  by  all 
whom  you  have  admitted  to  your  society,  is  any  comfort,  that  comfort  at  least 
is  yours.  I  know  how  inadequate  it  must  lie  at  such  a  moment,  but  I  know 
too  that  the  sentiment  will  survive  when  the  bitterness  of  sorrow  shall  have 
passed  away.  Yours  very  faithfully,  W.  S.  LANDOR." 

'  Mr.  Landor  is  mistaken.  Lord  Blessington  did  not  vote  for  the  Union  — 
R,  R.  M. 


LETTERS. 


123 


In  another  letter  to  Lady  Blessington,  Mr.  Landor  thus  ex 
pressed  himself  on  the  same  subject : 

"July  21,1289. 

"  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — Too  well  was  I  aware  how  great  my  pain 
must  be  in  reading  your  letter.  So  many  hopes  are  thrown  away  from  us  by 
this  cruel  and  unexpected  blow.  I  can  not  part  with  the  one,  of  which  the 
greatness  and  the  justness  of  your  grief  almost  deprives  me,  that  you  will  re 
cover  your  health  and  spirits.  If  they  could  return  at  once,  or  very  soon,  you 
would  be  unworthy  of  that  love  which  the  kindest  and  best  of  human  beings 
lavished  on  you.  Longer  life  was  not  necessary  for  him  to  estimate  your  af 
fection  for  him,  and  those  graces  of  soul  which  your  beauty  in  its  brightest 
day  but  faintly  shadowed.  He  told  me  that  you  were  requisite  to  his  happi 
ness,  and  that  he  could  not  live  without  you.  Suppose,  then,  he  had  survived 
you,  his  departure,  in  that  case,  could  not  have  been  so  easy  as  it  was,  uncon 
scious  of  pain,  of  giving  it,  or  leaving  it  behind.  I  am  comforted  at  the  re 
flection  that  so  gentle  a  heart  received  no  affliction  from  the  anguish  and  de 
spair  of  those  he  loved. 

"  You  have  often  brought  me  over  to  your  opinion  after  an  obstinate  rather 
than  a  powerful  contest ;  let  me,  now  I  am  more  in  the  right,  bring  you  over 
by  degrees  to  mine. 

"  And  believe  me,  dear  Lady  Blessington,  your  ever  devoted  servant, 

"W.  S.  LANDOR." 

Dr.  Richardson,  the  Eastern  traveler,  and  former  traveling 
physician  of  Lord  Blessington,  in  writing  to  Lady  Blessington 
from  Rarnsgate,  the  25th  of  April,  1832,  on  the  death  of  her 
husband,  says, 

"  YOUR  late  lord  is  never  absent  from  my  mind  ;  during  life  he  occupied  the 
largest  share  of  my  affections,  his  friendship  was  my  greatest  honor  and  pride, 
and  his  memory  is  the  dearest  of  all  in  the  keeping  of  my  heart.  I  feel  his 
loss  every  day  of  my  life,  and  shall  never  cease  to  feel  it  till  my  eyes  close  on 
all  this  scene  of  things  till  we  meet  again  in  another  and  a  better  world. 

"  Yours,  my  dear  Lady  Blessington,  very  sincerely, 

"  R.  RICHARDSON." 

At  the  time  of  the  decease  of  Lord  Blessington,  his  affairs 
were  greatly  embarrassed.  The  enormous  expenditure  in 
France  and  Italy,  and  in  London  also,  previously  to  his  departure 
for  the  Continent  in  1822,  was  not  met  by  the  rental  of  his  vast 
estates. 

It  will  be  seen  by  the  schedules  appended  to  the  act  of  Par 
liament  for  the  sale  of  the  Blessington  estates  (to  be  found  in 
the  Appendix),  that  the  rental  of  the  properties  referred  to  in 


124  THE  BLESSINGTON  ESTATES. 

the  act  was  estimated,  in  1846,  at  £22,718  14s.  7d.  But  when 
his  lordship  succeeded  to  the  title  and  estates,  the  rental  was 
about  £30,000  a  year. 

In  1814  he  sold  a  valuable  property  in  the  barony  of  Stra- 
bane,  in  the  county  of  Tyrone,  the  rental  of  which  was  very  con 
siderable.  The  remaining  estates,  by  mismanagement,  constant 
changes  of  agents,  the  pressure  of  mortgages,  and  other  causes 
of  ruin,  arising  out  of  absenteeism,  improvidence,  and  embar 
rassments,  became  much  reduced. 

The  extent  of  the  Mountjoy  territory  in  Tyrone  and  Donegal, 
into  which  Lord  Blessington  came  to  possession,  may  be  imag 
ined,  when  the  extreme  length  of  one  of  the  Tyrone  properties 
could  be  described  as  "  a  ride  of  several  miles." 

The  three  estates  of  Lord  Blessington  in  Tyrone  were  the  fol 
lowing  : 

1st.  The  JSTewtown  Stewart  estate,  called  Mountjoy  Forest, 
on  which  property  the  residence  of  Lord  Blessington,  "  the  Cot 
tage,"  was  situated,  which  was  sold  in  1846  or  1847. 

2d.  The  Mountjoy  estate  near  Killymoon  produced  £5000 
or  £6000  a  year.  The  demesne,  comprising  one  thousand  nine 
hundred  acres,  according  to  Mr.  Graham's  account,  "  the  largest 
demesne  in  Europe  of  any  private  gentleman's  property,"  was 
sold  four  or  five  years  ago. 

3d.  Aughcrtain  estate,  near  Clogher,  the  first  portion  of  the 
estreated  Ulster  lands  which  came  into  the  possession  of  one  of 
the  first  adventurers  in  Ireland  of  the  Stewart  family,  comprised 
fourteen  town  lands  ;  it  was  sold  for  £98,000.  The  produce 
of  the  sale  of  a  large  portion  of  the  territory  of  the  O'Ncil  of 
the  Red  Hand  went  to  pay  the  debts  of  a  French  count  to  the 
Jews  and  money-lenders  of  London. 

In  the  county  of  Donegal  there  was  another  estate  of  the 
Mountjoy  family,  named  "  Conroy  ;"  but  this  valuable  property 
had  been  sold  previously  to  the  death  of  Lord  Blessington. 

In  1813  Lord  Blessington  obtained  advances  of  money  from 
the  Globe  Insurance  Company,  for  which  he  gave  them  an  an 
nuity  for  one  young  life.  Amount  of  annuity,  £526. 

In  1813  he  got  money  again  from  the  same  company,  for 


CHARGES  ON  THE  ESTATES. 


125 


which  he  gave  an  annuity  for  the  life  of  A.  Mocatta,  a  youth, 
of  £520. 

In  1813  he  got  money  from  the  company,  for  which  he  gave 
an  annuity  for  the  life  of  William  Coles,  of  £510. 

In  1813  he  obtained  money  from  the  same  company,  for 
which  he  gave  an  annuity  for  the  life  of  A.  Angelo  Tremonan- 
do,  of  £527. 

In  1814  he  obtained  money  from  A.  Tremonando,  and  gave 
a  life  annuity  of  £880. 

In  1814,  for  other  pecuniary  accommodation,  he  gave  an  an 
nuity  to  Alexander  Nowel],  for  the  lives  of  Frances  and  Henry 
Josias  Stracy,  and  Rev.  T.  Whittaker,  of  £1000. 

In  1816  he  obtained  money  advances  from  Henry  Fauntleroy, 
for  which  he  gave  an  annuity  for  the  lives  of  John  Fauntleroy, 
and  William  and  James  Watson,  of  £500. 

In  1817  Lord  Blessington  borrowed  largely  money  on  mort 
gages.  In  that  year  he  raised  on  mortgage  to  Conyngham 
M< Alpine,  Esq.,  £11,076. 

In  1821  he  borrowed  from  the  Westminster  Insurance  Com 
pany,  on  mortgage,  £25,000. 

In  1825  he  borrowed  from  the  same  company,  on  mortgage, 
£5000. 

In  1823  he  borrowed  from  Thomas  Tatham,  Esq.,  on  mort 
gage,  £4000. 

,  The  following  items  give  the  principal  amounts  of  annuities, 
mortgages,  judgments,  and  other  debts,  legacies,  sums  of  mon 
ey,  and  incumbrances  charged  upon  or  affecting  the  estate  of 
Charles  John,  Earl  of  Blessington,  at  the  time  of  his  decease  : 

Mortgages  from  1783  to  1823  inclusive,  £47,846. 

Legacies  of  the  late  earl,  £23,353. 

Legacy  to  the  Honorable  Harriet  Gardiner,  to  be  raised  only 
on  certain  contingencies  set  forth  in  the  will,  £9230. 

Settlement  on  marriage  of  Lady  Harriet  with  Count  D'Orsay, 
£40,000. 

Judgments,  £13,268.     Bond  debts,  £10,357. 

Promissory  notes,  letters  of  acknowledgments,  and  I.  0.  U.'s, 
from  1808  to  1828,  £10,122. 


!20  DEEDS  OF  SETTLEMENT. 

Simple  contract  debts  due,  or  claimed  to  be  due,  to  parties  by 
the  Earl  of  Blessington,  £6878. 

Total  of  debts,  incumbrances,  and  legacies  of  the  Earl  of 
Blessington,  set  forth  in  the  fourth  schedule,  £161,044. 

But  to  this  sum  there  is  to  be  added  that  of  annuities  given, 
by  Lord  Blessington  to  various  parties,  bankers,  Jews,  and  oth 
ers,  to  the  amount  of  £7887. 

By  the  fifth  schedule  appended  to  the  act,  it  appears  the 
mortgages  and  sums  of  money  which  had  been  charged  by  the 
Count  D'Orsay  on  the  estates  of  Lord  Blessington  from  1837  to 
1845  amounted  to  £20,184. 

An  act  of  Parliament  (Viet.  9,  cap.  1)  was  passed  the  18th  of 
June,  1846,  "for  vesting  the  real  estates  of  the  Earl  of  Bless 
ington  in  trustees  for  sale,  for  the  payment  of  his  debts,  and  for 
other  purposes." 

The  act  sets  out  with  reciting  a  deed  of  settlement,  dated  3d 
of  August,  1814,  made  shortly  after  the  first  marriage  of  the 
earl. 

By  this  deed,  Josias  Henry  Stracey,  Esq.,  of  Berners  Street,  a 
partner  of  Fauntleroy,  the  banker,  was  appointed  a  trustee  over 
all  the  Tyrone  estates,  for  the  purpose  of  securing  to  Lord  Bless- 
ingtou's  son,  Charles  John  Gardiner,  a  sum  of  £12,000  on  his 
coming  of  age,  and  the  interest  of  that  sum  till  he  had  obtained 
the  age  of  twenty-one. 

The  next  deed  recited  is  one  of  lease  and  release,  dated  16th 
of  February,  1818,  on  the  occasion  of  the  intended  marriage  of 
the  earl  with  Margaret  Farmer,  of  "  Manchester  Square,  widow," 
settling  one  thousand  a  year  on  that  lady  in  the  event  of  that 
marriage  taking  place  ;  which  marriage  eventually  took  place 
the  16th  of  February,  1818. 

The  will  of  the  earl,  dated  31st  of  August,  1823,  is  next  re 
cited,  bequeathing  "£2000  British  per  annum  to  Lady  Blessing- 
ton  (inclusive  of  £1000  settled  on  her  at  the  time  of  his  mar 
riage),  to  Robert  Power  £1000,  and  Mary  Anne  Power  £1000 
each.  To  his  daughter,  Lady  Harriet,  all  his  estates  in  the 
county  of  Dublin,  subjected  to  certain  charges,"  provided  she 
intermarried  with  his  "  friend  and  intended  son-in-law.  Alfred 


DEEDS  OF  SETTLEMENT.  127 

D'Orsay  ;"  and  in  the  event  of  her  refusal,  he  bequeathed  to  her 
only  the  sum  of  £10,000.  To  his  daughter  Emilie  Rosalie 
Gardiner,  commonly  called  Lady  Mary  Gardiner,  whom  he  here 
by  acknowledged  and  adopted  as  his  daughter,  he  left  the  sum 
of  £20,000  ;  but  in  case  she  married  Alfred  D'Orsay,  he  be 
queathed  all  his  Dublin  estates  to  her,  chargeable,  however, 
with  the  payment  of  the  annuity  before  mentioned  to  Lady 
Blessington.  To  his  son,  Charles  John  Gardiner,  he  left  all  his 
estates  in  Tyrone,  subject  to  certain  charges,  also  the  reversion 
of  his  Dublin  estates  in  case  of  failure  of  male  issue,  lawfully 
begotten,  of  said  daughters. 

[It  is  to  be  borne  in  mind,  when  this  will  was  made,  the  31st 
of  August,  1823,  his  lordship's  daughter  Harriet,  whose  mar 
riage  he  provided  for,  being  born  the  3d  of  August,  1812,  was 
just  eleven  years  of  age.] 

The  act  then  goes  on  to  recite  a  deed  of  settlement  made  in 
contemplation  of  the  marriage  between  Count  and  Countess 
D'Orsay,  dated  2d  of  November,  1827  ;  the  parties  to  this  deed 
being  Lord  Blessington  of  the  first  part,  Count  D'Orsay  of  the 
second  part,  Lady  Harriet  Gardiner  of  the  third  part,  the  Due  de 
Guiche,  lieutenant  general  and  premier  (ecuyer)  of  his  royal 
highness  the  Dauphin,  and  Robert  Power,  formerly  captain  of 
the  2d  Regiment  of  Foot,  then  residing  at  Mountjoy  Forest,  of 
the  fourth  part. 

The  deed  is  stated  to  be  for  the  purpose  of  making  a  provi 
sion  for  the  said  Alfred,  Count  D'Orsay,  and  Lady  Harriet  Gar 
diner,  who  is  described  as  "  then  an  infant  of  the  age.  of  fifteen 
years  or  thereabouts." 

Lord  Blessington  bound  himself  by  this  deed  to  pay,  within 
twelve  months  after  the  solemnization  of  this  marriage,  the  sum 
of  £20,000  British  to  the  trustees,  the  Due  de  Guiche  and  Rob 
ert  Power  ;  and  bound  his  executors,  within  twelve  months  after 
his  decease,  to  pay  said  trustees  £20,000  more,  to  be  invested 
in  the  funds,  and  the  interest  thereof  to  be  paid  to  Count  D'Or 
say,  and  after  his  decease  to  the  said  Lady  Harriet  during  her 
life  ;  the  principal  at  her  death  to  go  to  any  issue  by  that  mar 
riage  ;  and  in  the  event  of  failure  of  issue,  to  be  held  in  trust 


128  BEQUESTS  OF  LORD  BLESSINGTON. 

for  the  executor  and  administrator  of  the  said  Alfred,  Count 
D'Orsay. 

Then  the  act  recites  the  marriage  of  the  Count  D'Orsay  with 
Lady  Harriet  during  the  lifetime  of  the  said  earl,  of  there  being 
no  issue  by  that  marriage,  and  of  their  Icing  separated  in  the  year 
1831,  and  having  lived  wholly  separate  from  that  time.* 

The  death  of  the  earl  is  then  mentioned,  having  occurred  ori 
the  25th  of  May,  1829,  and  the  fact  of  the  will  being  duly 
proved  in  the  Prerogative  Court ;  and  it  is  also  stated  that  his 
lordship  was  possessed  of  estates  in  Kilkenny  which  were  not 
devised  by  his  will ;  that  his  lordship's  son,  Charles  John  Gar 
diner,  had  filed  a  bill  against  Lady  Blessington,  Count  and 
Countess  D'Orsay,  in  1831  ;  that  the  will  was  declared  by  a  de 
cree  in  Chancery  well  proven,  and  that  the  trusts  therein  speci 
fied  should  be  carried  into  execution  ;  that  receivers  should  be 
appointed  ;  that  Luke  Norrnaii  should  continue  agent  of  the  es 
tates,  and  that  an  account  should  be  taken  of  all  debts  and  in- 
cumbrances  on  the  same  ;  that  the  18th  of  June,  1834,  the  Mas 
ter  in  Chancery  reported  on  the  charges  arid  debts  on  the  estates, 
and  on  the  14th  of  July,  1834,  an  order  was  made  directing  a 
sum  of  j£500  to  be  paid  yearly  to  the  Count  D'Orsay,  and  £450 
to  the  Countess  D'Orsay,  for  their  maintenance. 

Various  bequests  of  his  lordship  are  recited  in  this  document : 
to  Lady  Blessington  he  bequeathed  the  lease  of  his  house  in 
London  (in  St.  James's  Square)  ;  at  the  expiration  of  the  lease, 
the  furniture,  books,  &c.,  were  to  be  removed  to  Mountjoy  For 
est  estate  in  Tyrone,  where  a  house  was  to  be  built  according 
to  plans  then  laid  down,  empowering  executors  to  borrow  money 
for  the  purpose.  "  All  his  carriages,  her  paraphernalia  and 
plate,"  he  left  also  to  his  wife  ;  to  his  son  John  "  his  plate, 
wardrobe,  swords,"  &c.,  ixc.  He  appointed  Alfred  D'Orsay 
guardian  of  his  son  Charles  John  Gardiner  till  he  carne  of  age, 
the  previous  settlement  of  JC12,000  to  be  null  and  void  on  his 
obtaining  the  Tyrone  estates.  "  He  appointed  his  beloved  wife 
guardian  of  his  daughter  Harriet  Anne,  and  appointed  his  sister 

*  The  date  of  the  deed  of  separation  between  the  Count  and  Countess  D'Orsay 
is  the  15th  and  16th  of  February,  1838. 


DEED  OF  SEPARATION.  129 

Harriet  guardian  of  his  daughter  commonly  called  Lady  Mary." 
To  his  sister,  Miss  Harriet  Gardiner,  he  left  an  annuity  for  life 
of  £500. 

A  deed  of  separation  between  the  Count  and  Countess  D'Or- 
say  is  referred  to,  setting  forth  that  Count  D'Orsay  had  granted 
several  annuities  for  his  life  to  his  creditors,  with  power  to  re 
purchase  the  same,  and  had  charged  the  interest  on  the  two 
sums  of  .£20,000  settled  on  him  at  the  period  of  his  marriage 
by  Lord  Blessington,  and  that  he  required  a  sum  to  redeem  the 
same  amounting  to  about  £23,500. 

That  Countess  D'Orsay  also  had  incurred  some  debts,  and  re 
quired  a  sum  of  £10,000,  or  thereabouts,  to  discharge  the  same  ; 
that  Charles  John  Gardiner  had  incurred  some  debts,  secured 
by  judgments  on  the  Tyrone  estates,  amounting  to  £10,000; 
and  that  Countess  D'Orsay  had  entered  into  an  agreement  to 
purchase  all  the  interests  and  claims  of  the  several  parties  to 
whom  bequests  were  made  and  debts  were  due,  and  that  to  pay 
off  said  incumbrances  and  liabilities  a  sum  of  £120,500,  ap 
plicable  to  the  purchase  of  Count  D'Orsay's  annuities  and  some 
other  purposes,  would  be  required.  By  a  subsequent  agree 
ment,  the  latter  sum  was  raised  to  £180,000,  "and  such  other 
sums  as  might  be  found  necessary"  among  other  objects  for  se 
curing  to  Count  D'Orsay,  within  a  period  of  ten  years,  a  sum  of 
£42,000. 

Eventually,  by  two  orders  of  the  Court  of  Chancery,  one  of  the 
6th  of  February,  1845,  and  another  the  13th  of  February,  1846, 
it  was  decreed  the  trustees,  when  the  sanction  of  an  act  should 
be  procured,  would  be  empowered  to  make  sales  of  several  es 
tates  to  the  amount  of  £350,000,  to  pay  off  all  incumbrances 
and  claims. 

The  act  for  the  sale  of  the  Blessington  estates  was  passed  in 
1846.  Its  provisions  have  been  duly  carried  into  execution.  Of 
the  vast  properties  of  the  Mountjoys,  there  remains  a  remnant 
of  them,  producing  about  £6000  a  year,  to  be  still  disposed  of. 

Lord  Blessington  by  his  will  put  an  end  to  the  wealth,  honor, 
and  territorial  greatness  of  the  ancient  race  of  the  Mountjoys. 

Thus  passes  away  the  glory  of  "  the  English  Pale"  in  Ireland. 

F  2 


THREE  REMARKABLE  WOMEN. 


CHAPTER  VII. 

CONVERSATIONAL  POWERS  OF  DISTINGUISHED  PERSONS. SEA- 
MORE  PLACE  AND  GORE  HOUSE  LITERARY  CIRCLES. RIVAL  SA 
LONS  OF  HOLLAND  HOUSE,  AND  REUNIONS  AT  THE  COUNTESS 
OF  CHARLEVILLE'S. — RESIDENCE  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON  AT 
SEAMORE  PLACE  FROM  1832  TO  1836,  AND  AT  GORE  HOUSE, 
KENSINGTON  GORE,  FROM  1836  TO  APRIL,  1849. 

ABOUT  twenty  years  ago  there  were  three  circles  of  fashion 
able  society  in  London,  wherein  the  intellectual  celebrities  of 
the  time  did  chiefly  congregate.  Three  very  remarkable  wom 
en  presided  over  them  :  the  Countess  of  Blessington,  the  Count 
ess  of  Charlevillc,  and  Lady  Holland.  The  qualities,  mental 
and  personal,  of  the  ladies,  differed  very  much  ;  but  their  tastes 
concurred  in  one  particular :  each  of  them  sought  to  make  so 
ciety  in  her  house  as  agreeable  as  possible,  to  bring  together  as 
much  ability,  wit,  and  intellectual  acquirements  as  could  be  as 
sembled  and  associated  advantageously  ;  to  elicit  any  kind,  or 
any  amount,  however  small,  of  talent  that  any  individual  in 
that  society  might  possess,  and  to  endeavor  to  make  men  of  let 
ters,  art,  or  science,  previously  unacquainted,  or  estranged,  or 
disposed  to  stand  aloof,  and  to  isolate  themselves  in  society,  think 
kindly  and  favorably  of  one  another.  I  am  not  quite  sure,  how 
ever,  that  a  very  kindly  feeling  toward  each  other  prevailed 
among  the  rival  queens  of  London  literary  society. 

The  power  and  influence  of  Lady  Blessington's  intellectual 
qualities  consisted  chiefly  in  her  conversational  talents.  It  would 
be  difficult  to  point  out  any  particular  excellence,  and  to  say  that 
one  constituted  the  peculiar  charm  of  her  conversation. 

It  was  something  of  frankness  and  archness,  without  the  least 
mixture  of  ill  nature,  in  every  thing  she  said,  of  enjoucmcnt  in 
every  thought  she  uttered,  of  fullness  of  confidence  in  the  out- 
spoakinp  of  her  sentiments,  and  the  apparent  absence  of  ovory 


LADY  BLESSINGTON'S  INTELLECTUAL  QUALITIES.      131 

arriere  pensce  in  her  mind,  while  she  laughed  out  unpremeditat 
ed  ideas,  and  bo?i  mots  spontaneously  elicited,  in  such  joyous 
tones,  that  it  might  be  said  she  seldom  talked  without  a  smile 
at  least  on  her  lips  ;  it  was  something  of  felicity  in  her  mode 
of  expression,  and  freedom  in  it  from  all  reserve,  superadded  to 
the  effect  produced  by  singular  loveliness  of  face,  expressiveness 
of  look  and  gesture,  and  gracefulness  of  form  and  carriage,  that 
constituted  the  peculiar  charm  of  the  conversation  of  Lady  Bless- 
ington. 

She  seldom  spoke  at  any  length,  never  bored  her  hearers  with 
disquisitions,  nor  dogmatized  on  any  subject,  and  very  rarely 
played  the  learned  lady  in  discourse.  She  conversed  with  all 
around  her  in  "  a  give  and  take"  mode  of  interchange  of  senti 
ments.  She  expressed  her  opinions  in  short,  smart,  and  telling 
sentences  ;  brilliant  things  were  thrown  off  with  the  utmost 
ease ;  one  bon  mot  followed  another,  without  pause  or  effort,  for 
a  minute  or  two,  and  then,  while  her  wit  and  humor  were  pro 
ducing  their  desired  effect,  she  would  take  care,  by  an  apt  word 
or  gesture,  provocative  of  mirth  and  communicativeness,  to  draw 
out  the  persons  who  were  best  fitted  to  shine  in  company,  and 
leave  no  intelligence,  however  humble,  without  affording  it  an 
opportunity  and  an  encouragement  to  make  some  display,  even 
in  a  single  trite  remark  or  telling  observation  in  the  course  of 
conversation. 

How  well  Lady  Blessington  understood  the  excellencies  and 
art  of  brilliant  and  effective  conversation,  may  be  noticed  in  the 
following  observation : 

"  The  conversation  of  Lamartirie,"  says  Lady  Blessington,  "  is 
lively  and  brilliant.     He  is,  I  am  persuaded,  as  amiable  as  he  is 
clever,  with  great  sensibility,  which  is  indicated  in  his  counte 
nance  as  well  as  it  is  proved  in  his  works ;  he  possesses  sufficient  ! 
tact  to  conceal,  in  general  society,  every  attribute  peculiar  to  the    . 
poetical  temperament,  and  to  appear  only  as  a  well-informed, 
well-bred,  sensible  man  of  the  world.     This  tact  is  probably  the 
result  of  his  diplomatic  career,  which,  compelling  a  constant 
friction  with  society,  has  induced  the  adoption  of  its  usages."* 
*  The  Idler  in  Italy,  Par.  ed.,  p.  372,  1839. 


132     LADY  BLESSINGTON'S  INTELLECTUAL  QUALITIES. 

We  are  told  that  "  books  which  make  one  think"  are  most 
valued  by  people  of  high  intelligence  ;  but  conversation  which 
makes  one  think  I  do  not  think  is  the  description  of  discourse 
which  would  tell  best  in  the  salons,  even  of  Gore  House,  when 
it  was  most  frequented  by  eminent  literary  men,  artists,  and 
state  politicians.  Conversation  which  makes  one  laugh,  which 
tickles  the  imagination,  which  drives  rapidly,  pleasantly,  and 
lightly  over  the  mind,  and  makes  no  deep  impression  on  the 
road  of  the  understanding,  which  produces  oblivion  of  passing 
cares,  and  amuses  for  the  time  being,  is  the  enjoyment  in  real 
ity  that  is  sought  in  what  is  called  the  brilliant  circles  of  litera 
ture  and  of  art,  a  la  mode.  How  does  the  conversation  of  such 
circles  tally  with  the  taste  for  reading  referred  to  in  the  follow 
ing  passage  ? 

"  I,  for  my  own  part,"  says  Archdeacon  Hare,  "  have  ever 
gained  the  most  profit,  and  the  most  pleasure  also,  from  the 
books  which  have  made  me  think  the  most ;  and  when  the  dif 
ficulties  have  once  been  overcome,  these  are  the  books  which 
have  struck  the  deepest  root,  not  only  in  my  memory  and  under 
standing,  but  likewise  in  my  affections.  If  you  would  fertilize 
the  mind,  the  plow  must  be  driven  over  and  through  it.  The 
gliding  of  wheels  is  easier  and  rapider,  but  only  makes  it  harder 
and  more  barren.  Above  all,  in  the  present  age  of  light  read 
ing,  that  is,  of  reading  hastily,  thoughtlessly,  indiscriminately, 
unfruitfully,  when  most  books  are  forgotten  as  soon  as  they  are 
finished,  and  very  many  sooner,  it  is  well  if  something  heavier 
is  cast  now  arid  then  into  the  midst  of  the  literary  public.  This 
may  scare  and  repel  the  weak  ;  it  will  rouse  and  attract  the 
stronger,  and  increase  their  strength  by  making  them  exert  it. 
Tn  the  sweat  of  the  brow  is  the  mind  as  well  as  the  body  to  eat 
its  bread.  Are  writers,  then,  to  be  studiously  difficult,  and  to  tie 
knots  for  the  mere  purpose  of  compelling  their  readers  to  untie 
them  ?  Not  so.  Let  them  follow  the  bent  of  their  own  minds. 
Let  their  style  be  the  faithful  mirror  of  their  thoughts.  Some 
minds  are  too  rapid,  and  vehement,  arid  redundant  to  flow  along 
iu  lucid  transparence  ;  some  have  to  break  over  rocks,  and  to 
force  a  way  through  obstacles  which  would  have  dammed  them 


LADY  BLESSINGTON'S  INTELLECTUAL  QUALITIES.     133 

in.  Tacitus  could  not  write  like  Caesar.  Niebuhr  could  not  write 
like  Goldsmith."* 

Goldsmith's  conversation,  however,  was  not  calculated  to 
make  men  in  society  either  think  or  laugh  much. 

"  Mr.  Fox,"  we  are  told,  in  a  recent  biography,  "declared  that 
he  learned  more  from  conversation  than  all  the  books  he  had 
ever  read.  It  often  happens,  indeed,  that  a  short  remark  in  con 
versation  contains  the  essence  of  a  quarto  volume."! 

Lady  Blessington  had  a  particular  turn  for  cramming  a  vast 
deal  of  meaning  into  an  exceeding  small  number  of  words.  She 
not  only  had  a  natural  talent  for  condensing  thoughts,  and  pro 
ducing  them  in  terse,  vigorous,  and  happily-selected  terms,  but 
she  made  a  study  of  saying  memorable  things  in  short,  smart 
sentences,  of  conveying  in  a  remark  some  idea  of  the  import, 
essence,  and  merits  of  an  entire  book. 

Lord  John  Russell,  in  his  Preface  to  the  fifth  volume  of  Moore's 
"Memoirs,"  makes  an  observation,  very  just  and  singularly  fe 
licitous  in  its  expression,  in  reference  to  the  conversational 
powers  of  Sir  James  Mackintosh  and  Sidney  Smith: 

"  There  are  two  kinds  of  colloquial  wit  which  equally  con 
tribute  to  fame,  though  not  equally  to  agreeable  conversation. 
The  one  is  like  a  rocket  in  a  dark  air,  which  shoots  at  once  into 
the  sky,  and  is  the  more  surprising  from  the  previous  silence 
and  gloom  ;  the  other  is  like  that  kind  of  fire-work  which  blazes 
and  bursts  out  in  every  direction,  exploding  at  one  moment,  and 
shining  brightly  in  its  course,  and  changing  its  shape  and  color 
to  many  forms  and  many  hues. 

"  The  great  delight  of  Sidney  Smith  was  to  produce  a  suc 
cession  of  ludicrous  images  ;  these  followed  each  other  with  a 
rapidity  that  scarcely  left  time  to  laugh  ;  he  himself  laughing 
louder  and  with  more  enjoyment  than  any  one.  This  electric 
contact  of  mirth  came  and  went  with  the  occasion  ;  it  can  not 
be  repeated  or  reproduced  ;  any  thing  would  give  occasion  to 
it 

"Of  all  those  whose  conversation  is  referred  to  by  Moore,  Sir 
James  Mackintosh  wafe  the  ablest,  the  most  brilliant,  and  the 

*  Guesses  at  Truth.  f  Moore's  Memoirs. 


134     LADY  BLESSINGTON'S  INTELLECTUAL  QUALITIES. 

best  informed.  A  most  competent  judge  in  this  matter  has  said, 
'  Till  subdued  by  age  and  illness,  his  conversation  was  more 
brilliant  and  instructive  than  that  of  any  human  being  I  ever 
had  the  good  fortune  to  be  acquainted  with.'  His  stores  of 
learning  were  vast,  and  of  those  kinds  which,  both  in  serious 
and  in  light  conversation,  are  most  available." 

It  would  be  idle  to  compare  the  conversational  talents  of  Lady 
Blessingtoii  with  those  of  Sidney  Smith  or  Sir  James  Mackin 
tosh  in  any  respect  but  one,  namely,  the  power  of  making  light 
matters  appear  of  moment  in  society,  dull  things  brilliant,  and 
bright  thoughts,  given  utterance  to  even  in  sport,  contribute  to 
the  purposes  of  good  humor,  tending  to  enliven,  amuse,  and  ex 
hilarate  people's  minds  in  society  when  sought  for  amusement 
and  relaxation. 

The  perfection  of  conversational  talent  is  said  "  to  be  able  to 
.say  something  on  any  subject  that  may  be  started,  without  be 
traying  any  anxiety  or  impatience  to  say  it."  The  Prince  de 
Ligrie,  a  great  authority  in  conversational  matters,  said,  "Ce  qui 
coute  le  plus  pour  plaire,  c'est  de  cacher  que  1'  011  s'cnnuie.  Ce 
ivest  pas  en  amusant  qu'on  plait.  On  n'amuse  pas  meme  si 
1'on  s'amuse  ;  c'est  en  faisaiit  croire  que  I'oii  s'amuse." 

Madame  de  Stael  spoke  of  conversation  emphatically  as  an 
art: 

"  To  succeed  in  conversation,  we  must  possess  the  tact  of  per 
ceiving  clearly,  and  at  every  instant,  the  impression  made  on 
those  with  whom  we  converse  ;  that  which  they  would  fain  con 
ceal,  as  well  as  that  which  they  would  willingly  exaggerate — the 
inward  satisfaction  of  some,  the  forced  smiles  of  others.  "We 
must  be  able  to  note  and  arrest  half-formed  censures  as  they 
pass  over  the  countenance  of  the  listeners,  by  hastening  to  dis 
sipate  them  before  self-love  be  engaged  against  us.  There  is 
no  arena  in  which  vanity  displays  itself  under  such  a  variety  of 
forms  as  in  conversation."* 

Of  all  the  women  of  our  age,  Madame  dc  Stael  was  the  most 
eminently  intellectual.  With  genius,  and  judgment,  and  powers 
uf  mental  application  of  the  highest  order,  $he  was  imbued  with 

'    L'Allemagm:. 


BYRON'S  OPINION  OF  MADAME  DE  STAEL.  135 

poetry  and  enthusiasm,  she  was  of  a  sanguine,  impulsive  nature, 
wonderfully  eloquent,  chivalrous,  patriotic,  a  lover  of  liberty  and 
glory,  and,  withal,  womanly  in  her  feelings  and  affections.  She 
delighted  in  society  ;  with  her  large  heart,  and  well-stored  head, 
and  remarkable  powers  of  conversation,  it  is  no  wonder  the  cir 
cles  of  a  metropolis  that  was  in  that  day  the  great  centre  of  civ 
ilization  should  have  peculiar  attractions  for  her ;  Paris,  with 
its  brilliant  society,  where  her  literary  reputation  had  its  birth, 
became  her  world.  She  gloried  in  society,  and  was  the  chief 
grace,  glory,  and  ornament  of  it. 

Byron,  said  to  Lady  Blessington  that  "  Madame  de  Stael  was 
certainly  the  cleverest,  though  not  the  most  agreeable  woman 
he  had  ever  known  ;  she  declaimed  to  you  instead  of  convers 
ing  with  you,  never  pausing  except  to  take  breath ;  and  if,  during 
that  interval,  a  rejoinder  was  put  in,  it  was  evident  that  she  did 
not  attend  to  it,  as  she  resumed  the  thread  of  her  discourse  as. 
though  it  had  not  been  interrupted." 

His  lordship  went  on  to  say  that  she  was  in  the  habit  of  losing 
herself  in  philosophical  disquisitions,  and  although  very  eloquent 
and  fluent  when  excited  in  conversation,  her  language  was  some 
times  obscure,  and  her  phraseology  florid  and  redundant. 

Lady  Blessington 's  love  for  London  and  its  celebrities  was  of 
the  same  all-absorbing  nature  as  that  of  Madame  de  Stael  for 
Parisian  society. 

The  exile  of  the  illustrious  baroness  from  the  French  capital 
was  "  a  second  death"  to  her,  we  are  told  in  a  recent  admirable 
memoir. 

"  It  appears  strange  that  banishment  from  Paris  should  thus 
have  been  looked  upon  by  Madame  de  Stael  as  an  evil,  and 
cause  of  suffering  almost  beyond  her  endurance.  "With  her 
great  intellectual  resources,  her  fine  heart,  capable  of  attaching 
itself  to  whatever  was  lovable  or  excellent,  and  the  power  she 
possessed  of  interesting  others,  and  of  giving  the  tone  to  what 
ever  society  she  entered,  one  would  have  supposed  that  she,  of 
all  people,  ought  not  to  have  depended  for  her  happiness  upon 
any  clique  or  association,  however  brilliant.  But,  though  she 
viewed  with  deep  interest  and  philosophical  curiosity  every  form 


136  MADAME  DE  STAEL. 

of  human  society,  she  only  seems  to  have  loved  that  to  which 
she  had  been  accustomed,  and  to  have  felt  herself  at  home  only 
in  the  midst  of  the  bustle  and  excitement  among  which  her  life 
had  begun.  She  was  not  yet  fully  alive  to  the  beauties  of  na 
ture.  Like  Charles  Lamb,  she  preferred  the  '  sweet  security  of 
streets'  to  the  most  magnificent  scenery  the  world  contained, 
and  thought,  with  Dr.  Johnson,  that  there  was  no  scene  equal  to 
the  high  tide  of  human  existence  in  the  heart  of  a  populous 
city.  When  guests  who  came  to  visit  her  at  Geneva  were  in 
ecstasies  with  its  lovely  scenes,  'Give  me  the  Rue  de  Bac,'  she 
said  :  '  I  would  rather  live  in  Paris  in  a  fourth  story,  and  with  a 
hundred  a  year.  I  do  not  dissemble  :  a  residence  in  Paris  has 
always  appeared  to  me,  under  any  circumstances,  the  most  de 
sirable  of  all  others.  French  conversation-  excels  nowhere  ex 
cept  in  Paris,  and  conversation  has  been,  since  my  infancy,  my 
greatest  pleasure.'" 

One  who  knew  her  peculiar  talents  and  characteristics  well 
has  observed  of  her  in  later  years  :  "  An  over-stimulated  youth, 
acting  on  a  temperament  naturally  ardent  and  impassioned,  had 
probably  aggravated  these  tendencies  to  a  morbid  extent ;  for  in 
the  very  prime  of  her  life,  and  strength  of  her  intellect,  it  would 
have  seemed  to  her  almost  as  impossible  to  dispense  with  the 
luxury  of  deep  and  strong  emotions,  as  with  the  air  which  sus 
tained  her  existence." 

Madame  de  Stael  had  this  advantage  over  all  the  learned  and 
literary  women  of  her  time — she  was  born  and  bred  in  the  midst 
of  intellectual  excitement,  conversational  exhibitions,  triumphs 
of  imagination,  and  all  the  stirring  scenes  of  a  grand  drama, 
which  opened  with  bright  visions  of  freedom,  and  renewed  vigor 
and  vitality  for  the  human  race,  though  it  terminated  in  a  ter 
rible  denouement  of  revolution  and  widely-extended  phrensy. 

Madame  de  Stacl  lacked  one  great  source  of  influence  and 
power  in  conversation,  namely,  beauty.  Her  features  were 
flexible,  but  strongly  marked  and  somewhat  masculine  ;  but 
her  eyes  were  full  of  animation,  vivacity,  and  expression,  and 
her  voice  was  finely  modulated  and  harmonious,  peculiarly  touch 
ing  and  pleasing  to  the  car,  while  her  movements  wore  srrace- 


HOLLAND  HOUSE.  137 

ful  and  dignified.  She  entered  on  life  at  the  beginning  of  a 
mighty  revolution,  with  lofty  aspirations  and  glorious  inspira 
tions,  animated  by  enthusiastic  feelings  of  love  of  liberty,  of  hu 
manity,  of  glory,  and  exalted  virtue.  There  was  no  affectation 
in  these  heroic  sentiments  and  chivalrous  imaginings  :  they 
were  born  with  her ;  they  were  fostered  in  her  ;  the  times  in 
which  her  lot  was  cast  developed  them  most  fully. 

It  would  be  vain  to  look  for  intellectual  power  in  the  literary 
women  of  other  lands,  of  our  time,  that  could  have  produced 
"Thoughts  on  the  French  Revolution,"  "  Ten  Years  of  Exile," 
"  Sophia,  or  Secret  Sentiments,"  "  On  the  Influence  of  Passions 
in  Individuals  and  National  Happiness,"  "  Literature,  consider 
ed  in  its  connection  with  Social  Institutions,"  "Delphine,"  "  Co- 
rinne,"  "  Germany,"  &c.,  &c.,  &c. 

The  labor  of  her  great  works  on  the  French  Revolution,  after 
her  return  to  her  beloved  Paris,  at  the  period  of  the  restoration 
of  Louis  the  Eighteenth,  contributed,  it  is  supposed,  to  the 
breaking  down  of  her  health,  after  a  short  but  memorable  ca 
reer  of  wonderful  literary  toil  and  application  of  the  mental  fac 
ulties.  She  died  in  1817,  at  the  age  of  fifty-one  years. 

Of  Holland  House  society,  Mr.  Macauley,  in  an  article  in  the 
"  Edinburgh  Review,"  has  commemorated  the  brilliancies  ;  and 
Lord  John  Russell  has  likewise  recorded  its  attractions  in  terms 
worthy  of  a  man  of  letters  and  a  lover  of  the  amenities  of  liter 
ature.  In  his  preface  to  the  six  volumes  of"  Moore's  Memoirs," 
he  seems  to  revel  in  the  short  snatches  of  literary  occupation 
which  he  has  indulged  in,  at  the  expense  of  politics  and  affairs 
of  state,  when  he  describes  the  conversational  powers  of  Lord 
Holland,  and  the  display  of  them  in  those  circles  which  his  lord 
ship  and  his  friend  Moore  were  in  the  habit  of  frequenting.  He 
characterizes  the  charms  of  Lord  Holland's  conversation  as  com 
bining  a  variety  of  excellencies  of  disposition,  as  well  as  of  men 
tal  endowments,  generous  sentiments  and  principles,  kindliness 
of  nature,  warmth  of  feeling,  remarkable  cheerfulness  of  dispo 
sition,  toleration  for  all  opinions,  a  keen  sense  of  the  ridiculous, 
good  memory,  an  admirable  talent  for  mimicry,  a  refined  taste, 
an  absence  of  all  formality,  a  genial  warmth  and  friendliness  of 


138  HOLLAND  HOUSE. 

intercourse  in  society.  "  He  won,"  says  Lord  John,  "without 
seeming  to  court,  he  instructed  without  seeming  to  teach,  and 
he  amused  without  laboring  to  be  witty.  But  of  the  charm 
which  belonged  to  Lord  Holland's  conversation  future  times  can 
form  no  adequate  conception  : 

"  '  The  pliant  muscles  of  the  varying  face, 

The  mien  that  gave  each  sentence  strength  and  grace, 
The  tuneful  voice,  the  eye  that  spoke  the  mind, 
Are  gone,  nor  leave  a  single  trace  behind.'  •' 

I  find  among  the  papers  of  Count  D'Orsay  a  few  slight  but 
graphic  sketches  of  Lord  Holland  and  some  of  his  contempora 
ries  worthy  of  the  writer,  and  possibly  these  may  be  all  that 
now  remain  of  those  delineations  of  London  celebrities  by  the 
count  which  Byron  refers  to  in  his  letters. 

"It  is  impossible,"  says  the  count,  "to  know  Lord  Holland 
without  feeling  for  him  a  strong  sentiment  of  affection ;  he  has 
so  much  goodness  of  heart,  that  one  forgets  often  the  superior 
qualities  of  mind  which  distinguish  him  ;  and  it  is  difficult  to 
conceive  that  a  man  so  simple,  so  natural,  and  so  good,  should 
be  one  of  the  most  distinguished  senators  of  our  days." 

Holland  House  was  the  well-known  place  of  reunion  of  the 
most  eminent  men  of  the  time  for  nearly  a  century  ;  the  scene 
of  innumerable  wit  combats,  and  keen  encounters  of  intelligence 
and  talent. 

The  late  Lord  Holland's  reputation  for  classical  attainments 
and  high  intelligence,  fine  tastes  and  cultivated  mind,  his  en 
couragement  of  art  and  literature,  conversational  talents,  and 
elegant  hospitality,  are  not  better  known  than  his  amiability  of 
disposition,  kindliness  of  heart,  and  genial,  noble,  loving  nature, 
prompting  him  ever  to  generous  conduct,  and  liberal,  and  some 
times  even  heroic  acts  of  benevolence. 

One  evidently  well  acquainted  with  Lady  Holland  thus  speaks 
of  the  brilliant  circles  over  which  she  so  long  presided,  and  of 
the  qualities  of  heart  and  mind  which  enabled  her  to  give  to  the 
reunions  of  men  of  letters,  wit,  art,  and  science,  the  attractions 
which  characterized  them. 

*  Moore's  Memoirs,  vol.  v. 


HOLLAND  HOUSE.  139 

"  Beyond  any  other  hostess  we  ever  knew,  and  very  far  be 
yond  any  host,  she  possessed  the  tact  of  perceiving  and  the  pow 
er  of  evoking  the  various  capacities  which  lurked  in  every  part 
of  the  brilliant  circles  she  drew  around  her.  To  enkindle  the 
enthusiasm  of  an  artist  011  the  theme  over  which  he  had  achieved 
the  most  facile  mastery  ;  to  set  loose  the  heart  of  the  rustic  poet, 
and  imbue  his  speech  with  the  freedom  of  his  native  hills  ;  to 
draw  from  the  adventurous  traveler  a  breathing  picture  of  his 
most  imminent  danger,  or  to  embolden  the  bashful  soldier  to 
disclose  his  own  share  in  the  perils  and  glories  of  some  famous 
battle-field  ;  to  encourage  the  generous  praise  of  friendship 
when  the  speaker  and  the  subject  reflected  interest  on  each 
other,  or  win  the  secret  history  of  some  eilort  which  had  aston 
ished  the  world,  or  shed  new  lights  on  science  ;  to  conduct  those 
brilliant  developments  to  the  height  of  satisfaction,  and  then  to 
shift  the  scene  by  the  magic  of  a  word,  were  among  her  daily 
successes.  And  if  this  extraordinary  power  over  the  elements 
of  social  enjoyments  was  sometimes  wielded  without  the  entire 
concealment  of  its  despotism — if  a  decisive  check  sometimes  re 
buked  a  speaker  who  might  intercept  the  variegated  beauty  of 
Jeffrey's  indulgent  criticism,  or  the  jest  announced  and  self-re 
warded  in  Sidney  Smith's  delighted  and  delighting  chuckle,  the 
authority  was  too  clearly  exerted  for  the  evening's  prosperity, 
and  too  manifestly  impelled  by  an  urgent  consciousness  of  the 
value  of  those  golden  hours  which  were  fleeting  within  its  con 
fines,  to  sadden  the  enforced  silence  with  more  than  a  moment 
ary  regret.  If  ever  her  prohibition,  clear,  abrupt,  and  decisive, 
indicated  more  than  a  preferable  regard  for  livelier  discourse,  it 
was  when  a  depreciatory  tone  was  adopted  toward  genius,  or 
goodness,  or  honest  endeavor,  or  when  some  friend,  personal  or 
intellectual,  was  mentioned  in  slighting  phrase. 

"  Habituated  to  a  generous  partisanship  by  strong  sympathy 
with  a  great  political  cause,  she  carried  the  fidelity  of  her  devo 
tion  to  that  cause  into  her  social  relations,  and  was  ever  the  tru 
est  and  fastest  of  friends.  The  tendency,  often  more  idle  than 
malicious,  to  soften  down  the  intellectual  claims  of  the  absent, 
which  so  insidiously  besets  literary  conversation,  and  teaches  a 


140  HOLLAND  HOUSE. 

superficial  insincerity  even  to  substantial  esteem  and  regard, 
found  no  favor  in  her  presence  ;  and  hence  the  convex sations 
over  which  she  presided,  perhaps  beyond  all  that  ever  flashed 
with  a  kindred  splendor,  were  marked  by  that  integrity  of  good 
nature,  which  might  admit  of  their  exact  repetition  to  every 
living  individual  whose  merits  were  discussed  without  the  dan 
ger  of  inflicting  pain. 

"  Under  her  auspices,  not  only  all  critical,  but  all  personal  talk 
was  tinged  with  kindness  ;  the  strong  interest  which  she  took 
in  the  happiness  of  her  friends  shed  a  peculiar  sunniness  over 
the  aspects  of  life  presented  by  the  common  topics  of  alliances, 
and  marriages,  and  promotions  ;  and  not  a  promising  engage 
ment,  or  a  wedding,  or  a  promotion  of  a  friend's  son,  or  a  new 
intellectual  triumph  of  any  youth  with  whose  name  and  history 
she  was  familiar,  but  became  an  event  on  which  she  expected 
and  required  congratulation  as  on  a  part  of  her  own  fortune. 

"  Although  there  was  naturally  a  preponderance  in.  her  soci 
ety  of  the  sentiment  of  popular  progress,  which  once  was  cher 
ished  almost  exclusively  by  the  party  to  whom  Lord  Holland 
was  united  by  sacred  ties,  no  expression  of  triumph  in  success, 
no  virulence  in  sudden  disappointment,  was  ever  permitted  to 
wound  the  most  sensitive  ear  of  her  conservative  guests.  It 
might  be  that  some  placid  comparison  of  recent  with  former 
time  spoke  a  sense  of  peaceful  victory,  or  that  on  the  giddy  edge 
of  some  great  party  struggle,  the  festivities  of  the  evening  might 
take  a  more  serious  cast  as  news  arrived  from  the  scene  of  con 
test,  and  the  pleasure  be  deepened  with  the  peril ;  but  the  feel 
ing  was  always  restrained  by  the  present  evidence  of  perma 
nent  solaces  for  the  mind  which  no  political  changes  could  dis 
turb.  If  to  hail  and  welcome  genius,  or  even  talent  which  re 
vered  and  imitated  genius,  was  one  of  the  greatest  pleasures  of 
Lord  Holland's  life,  to  search  it  out  and  bring  it  within  the 
sphere  of  his  noble  sympathy  was  the  delightful  study  of  hers. 
How  often,  during  the  last  half  century,  has  the  steep  ascent  of 
fame  been  brightened  by  the  genial  appreciation  she  bestowed, 
and  the  festal  light  she  cast  on  its  solitude !  How  often  has  the 
assurance  of  success  received  its  crowning  delight  amid  the  ge- 


CHARLEVILLE  HOUSE.  141 

nial  luxury  of  her  circle,  where  renown  itself  has  been  realized 
in  all  its  sweetness  !"* 

CHARLEVILLE    HOUSE,   CAVENDISH    SQUARE. 

The  late  Dowager  Lady  Charleville  was  a  remarkable  person, 
eminently  gifted,  and  highly  accomplished.  The  author  had 
the  honor  of  knowing  her  ladyship  intimately  about  twenty 
years  ago.  Few  women  possessed  sounder  judgment,  or  were 
more  capable  of  forming  just  opinions  on  most  subjects. 

Dublin  and  its  society  at  the  time  of  the  Union,  and  for  some 
years  before,  as  well  as  after  that  measure,  was  a  frequent  sub 
ject  of  conversation  with  her.  All  the  Irish  celebrities  of  those 
times  were  intimately  known  by  her ;  Clare  and  Castlereagh, 
young  Wesley  and  Lord  Edward  Fitzgerald,  Lord  Moira,  and 
the  Beresfords,  cum  multis  aliis,  of  most  dissimilar  political  ele 
ments.  Throughout  her  whole  career,  it  seemed  to  be  a  settled 
plan  of  hers  to  bring  persons  of  worth,  of  opposite  opinions,  to 
gether,  and  to  endeavor  to  get  them  to  think  justly  and  favora 
bly  of  one  another,  as  if  she  considered  one  of  the  chief  causes 
of  half  the  estrangements  and  animosities  that  exist  was  the 
groundless  misapprehensions  of  unacquainted  people  of  the  same 
class,  pursuits  in  life,  or  position  in  society. 

The  Countess  Dowager  of  Cork,  at  the  same  period  that  Ladies 
Blessington,  Holland,  and  Charleville  collected  round  them  their 
several  celebrities  of  fashion  and  literary  eminence,  was  the 
centre  of  a  brilliant  circle  of  London  celebrities.  From  1820 
to  1840  was  frequently  to  be  seen  at  the  London  theatres  this 
genuine  representative,  in  all  but  one  respect,  of  the  celebrated 
Ninon,  de  1'Enclos. 

The  Right  Hon.  Mary,  Countess  Dowager  of  Cork  and  Derry, 
resided  for  a  great  many  years  in  New  Burlington  Street.  Her 
ladyship's  soirees  were  not  on  so  extensive  a  scale  as  those  of 
Lady  Blessington  and  Lady  Holland,  but  still  they  were  crowd 
ed  with  fashionable  and  distinguished  people.  Lady  Cork,  when 
Miss  Monckton,  was  one  of  Dr.  Johnson's  favorites.  "  Her  vivac 
ity,"  we  arc  told,  "  exhilarated  the  sage  ;"  and  they  used  to  talk 

*  Remarks  on  the  character  of  Lady  Holland,  in  the  if  Morning  Chronicle." 


142  SEAMORE  PLACE. 

together  with  all  imaginable  ease.  Frequent  mention  of  her  is 
made  by  Boswell.  She  was  born  in  1746  ;  her  father  was  John 
Monckton,  first  Viscount  Galway.  In  1784  she  married  the 
Earl  of  Cork.  For  a  large  portion  of  her  life  she  occupied  a 
conspicuous  place  in  London  society.  Her  residence  in  New 
Burlington  Street  was  a  rendezvous  of  wits,  scholars,  sages,  and 
politicians,  and  bas  blcux  of  celebrity.  "Her  social  reputation 
dates  from  her  attempts,  the  first  of  the  kind  (in  England),  to  in 
troduce  into  the  routine  and  formation  of  our  high  life  some 
thing  of  the  wit  and  energy  which  characterized  the  society  of 
Paris  in  the  last  century-  While  still  young,  she  made  the  house 
of  her  mother,  Lady  Galway,  the  point  of  rendezvous  where 
talent  and  genius  might  mingle  with  rank  and  fashion,  and 
the  advantages  of  intellectual  endowments  be  mutually  inter 
changed." 

The  endeavors  of  Miss  Monckton  to  give  a  higher  tone  to  the 
society  in  which  she  found  herself  in  the  latter  part  of  the  last 
century  had  the  beneficial  effect  of  thinning  the  crowds  round 
the  faro-tables,  then  the  nightly  excitement  of  both  sexes.  Her 
Sunday  parties  were  the  first  that  were  attempted  without  this 
accompaniment.  Her  ladyship,  to  the  last  enjoying  society  ; 
"  ready  for  death,  but  not  wishing  to  see  him  coming,"  died  at 
the  age  of  ninety-four,  in  her  house  in  Burlington  Street,  the 
20th  of  May,  1840. 

SEAMORE    PLACE. 

Lady  Blessington,  in  one  of  her  novels,  "  The  Victims  of  So 
ciety,"  wherein  abundance  of  sarcasm  was  bestowed  on  the  lion 
izing  tendencies  of  English  fashionable  society,  refers  to  "  the 
modern  Mecamases  of  May-fair"  (in  which  locality  her  ladyship 
resided  when  this  novel  was  written  by  her),  "  who  patronise 
poets  and  philosophers,  from  association  with  whom  they  expect 

to  derive  distinction A  few  of  the  houses,  with  the  most 

pretensions  to  literary  taste,  have  their  tame  poets  and  pctds 
litterateurs,  who  run  about  as  docile  and  more  parasitical  than 
lap-dogs  ;  and,  like  them,  are  equally  well  fed,  ay,  and  certainly 
equally  spoiled.  The  dull  pleasantries,  thrice-told  anecdotes, 


SEAMORE  PLACE. 


143 


and  resumes  of  the  scandal  of  each  week,  served  up  rechauffes 
by  these  pigmies  of  literature,  are  received  most  graciously  by 
their  patrons,  who  agree  in  opinion  with  the  French  writer, 
<;  '  Nul  iv aura  de  1'esprit, 
Hors  nous  et  nos  amis.'  " 

Not  even,  we  may  add,  in  Seamore  Place  or  Kensington  Gore, 
where  the  experience  was  chiefly  gained  which  enabled  poor 
Lady  Blessington  to  delineate  "  The  Victims  of  Society." 

Lady  Blessington  returned  to  London  from  the  Continent  in 
November,  1830.  In  the  latter  part  of  1831  she  took  up  her 
abode  in  Seamore  Place,  May  Fair.  The  mansion  in  St.  James's 
Square,  which  had  been  bequeathed  to  her  by  Lord  Blessington, 
was  far  too  expensive  an  establishment  to  be  kept  up  by  her  011 
an  income  of  two  thousand  a  year.  Having  disposed  of  her  in 
terest  in  it,  she  rented  the  house  in  Seamore  Place  from  Lord 
Mountford,  and  fitted  it  up  in  a  style  of  the  greatest  magnifi 
cence  and  luxury.*  Here,  in  the  month  of  March,  1832, 1  found 
her  ladyship  established.  The  Count  and  Countess  D'Orsay 
were  then  residing  with  her.  The  salons  of  Lady  Blessington 
were  opened  nightly  to  men  of  genius  and  learning,  and  persons 
of  celebrity  of  all  climes,  to  travelers  of  every  European  city  of 
distinction.  Her  abode  became  a  centre  of  attraction  for  the 
beau  monde  of  the  intellectual  classes,  a  place  of  reunion  for  re 
markable  persons  of  talent  or  eminence  of  some  sort  or  another, 
and  certainly  the  most  agreeable  resort  of  men  of  literature,  art, 
science,  of  strangers  of  distinction,  travelers,  and  public  charac 
ters  of  various  pursuits,  the  most  agreeable  that  ever  existed  in 
this  country. 

Perhaps  the  agremens  of  the  Seamore  Place  society  surpassed 
those  of  the  Gore  House  soirees.  Lady  Blessington,  when  resid- 

*  The  house  in  St.  James's  Square,  which  had  been  bequeathed  to  Lady  Bless 
ington  by  her  husband,  it  was  expected,  would  have  added  .£500  a  year  to  her  in 
come  for  the  few  years  of  the  unexpired  term  of  the  lease.  The  head  rent,  how 
ever,  was  very  high,  £840  a  year.  It.  had  been  let  to  the  Windham  club,  furnish 
ed,  for  £1350  a  year  ;  but  the  mode  in  which  the  property  in  the  furniture  had 
been  left  by  Lord  Blessington,  and  the  conditions  imposed  by  the  will  with  re 
spect  to  its  ultimate  transfer  to  Ireland,  and  the  fault,  moreover,  found  with  the 
bad  state  of  it,  had  led  to  such  difficulties,  that  eventually  she  relinquished  her 
rijht  and  interest  in  the  house  to  the  executors,  Messrs,  Norrnan  and  Worthinrton. 


144  iSEAMORE  PLACE. 

ing  in  the  former  street,  had  not  then  long  commenced  the  ca 
reer  of  authorship  as  a  pursuit  and  a  speculation. 

In  the  twelfth  letter  of  "the  Pencilings,"  dated  1834,  Mr. 
^Willis  gives  an  account  of  his  first  visit  to  Lady  Blessington  in 
London,  then  residing  in  Seamore  Place,  certainly  more  graphic 
than  any  other  description  of  her  reunions  that  has  been  given  : 

"  A  friend  in  Italy  had  kindly  given  rue  a  letter  to  Lady  Bless 
ington,  and  with  a  strong  curiosity  to  see  this  celebrated  author 
ess,  I  called  on  the  second  day  after  my  arrival  in  London.  It 
was  '  deep  i'  the  afternoon,'  but  I  had  not  yet  learned  the  full 
meaning  of  town  hours.  '  Her  ladyship  had  riot  come  down  to 
breakfast.'  I  gave  the  letter  and  my  address  to  the  powdered 
footman,  and  had  scarce  reached  home,  when  a  note  arrived  in 
viting  me  to  call  the  same  evening  at  ten. 

"  In  a  long  library,  lined  alternately  with  splendidly-bound 
books  and  mirrors,  and  with  a  deep  window,  of  the  breadth  of 
the  room,  opening  upon  Hyde  Park,  I  found  Lady  Blessington 
alone.  The  picture,  to  my  eye,  as  the  door  opened,  was  a  very 
lovely  one — a  woman  of  remarkable  beauty,  half  buried  in  a 
fauteuil  of  yellow  satin,  reading  by  a  magnificent  lamp  suspend 
ed  from  the  centre  of  the  arched  ceiling ;  sofas,  couches,  otto 
mans,  and  busts  arranged  in  rather  a  crowded  sumptuousness 
through  the  room  ;  enamel  tables,  covered  with  expensive  and  el 
egant  trifles  in  every  corner,  and  a  delicate  white  hand  relieved 
on  the  back  of  a  book,  to  which  the  eye  was  attracted  by  the 
blaze  of  its  diamond  rings.  As  the  servant  mentioned  my  name, 
she  rose  and  gave  me  her  hand  very  cordially  ;  and  a  gentleman 
entering  immediately  after,  she  presented  me  to  Count  D'Orsay, 
the  well-known  Pelham  of  London,  and  certainly  the  most  splen 
did  specimen  of  a  man,  and  a  well-dressed  one,  that  I  had  ever 
seen.  Tea  was  brought  in  immediately,  and  conversation  went 
swimmingly  on. 

"  Her  ladyship's  inquiries  were  principally  about  America,  of 
which,  from  long  absence,  I  knew  very  little.  She  was  ex 
tremely  curious  to  know  the  degrees  of  reputation  the  present 
popular  authors  of  England  enjoy  among  us,  particularly  Bul- 
wcr  and  D'Isracli  (the  author  of  :  Vivian  Grey').  f  If  you  will 


SEAMORE  PLACE.  145 

come  to-morrow  night,'  she  said,  '  you  will  see  Bulwer.  I  am 
delighted  that  he  is  popular  in  America.  He  is  envied  and 
abused — for  nothing,  I  believe,  except  for  the  superiority  of  his 
genius,  and  the  brilliant  literary  success  it  commands  ;  and 
knowing  this,  he  chooses  to  assume  a  pride  which  is  only  the 
armor  of  a  sensitive  mind  afraid  of  a  wound.  He  is  to  his 
friends  the  most  frank  and  noble  creature  in  the  world,  and  open 
to  boyishness  with  those  who  he  thinks  understand  and  value 
him.  He  has  a  brother  Henry,  who  is  also  very  clever  in  a 
different  vein,  and  is  just  now  publishing  a  book  on  the  present 
state  of  France. 

"  '  Do  they  like  the  D'Israelis  in  America  V 

"  I  assured  her  ladyship  that  the  '  Curiosities  of  Literature,' 
by  the  father,  and  *  Vivian  Grey'  and  '  Contarini  Fleming,'  by 
the  son,  were  universally  known. 

"  *  I  am  pleased  at  that,  for  I  like  them  both.  D'Israeli  the 
elder  came  here  with  his  son  the  other  night.  It  would  have 
delighted  you  to  see  the  old  man's  pride  in  him,  and  the  son's 
respect  and  affection  for  his  father.  D'Israeli  the  elder  lives  in 
the  country,  about  twenty  miles  from  town ;  seldom  comes  up 
to  London,  and  leads  a  life  of  learned  leisure,  each  day  hoarding 
up  and  dispensing  forth  treasures  of  literature.  He  is  courtly, 
yet  urbane,  and  impresses  one  at  once  with  confidence  in  his 
goodness.  In  his  manners,  D'Israeli  the  younger  is  quite  his 
own  character  of  "  Vivian  Grey  ;"  full  of  genius  and  eloquence, 
with  extreme  good  nature,  and  a  perfect  frankness  of  character.' 

"  I  asked  if  the  account  I  had  seen  in  some  American  paper 
of  a  literary  celebration  at  Canandaigua,  and  the  engraving  of 
her  ladyship's  name  with  some  others  upon  a  rock,  was  not  a 
quiz. 

"  *  Oh,  by  no  means.  I  was  much  amused  by  the  whole  af 
fair.  I  have  a  great  idea  of  taking  a  trip  to  America  to  see  it. 
Then  the  letter,  commencing,  "  Most  charming  Countess — for 
charming  you  must  be,  since  you  have  written  the  '  Conversa 
tions  of  Lord  Byron'"  —  oh,  it  was  quite  delightful.  I  have 
shown  it  to  every  body.  By-the-way,  I  receive  a  great  many 
letters  from  America  from  people  I  never  heard  of,  written  in 
.— G 


146 


SEAMORE  PLACE. 


the  most  extraordinary  style  of  compliment,  apparently  in  per 
fect  good  faith.  I  hardly  know  what  to  make  of  them.' 

"  I  accounted  for  it  by  the  perfect  seclusion  in  which  great 
numbers  of  cultivated  people  live  in  our  country,  who,  having 
neither  intrigue,  nor  fashion,  nor  twenty  other  things  to  occupy 
their  minds,  as  in  England,  depend  entirely  upon  books,  and 
consider  an  author  who  has  given  them  pleasure  as  a  friend. 
'  America,'  1  said,  '  has  probably  more  literary  enthusiasts  than 
any  country  in  the  world  ;  and  there  are  thousands  of  romantic 
minds  in  the  interior  of  New  England  who  know  perfectly 
every  writer  on  this  side  of  the  water,  and  hold  them  all  in 
affectionate  veneration,  scarcely  conceivable  by  a  sophisticated 
European.  If  it  were  not  for  such  readers,  literature  would  be 
the  most  thankless  of  vocations  ;  I,  for  one,  would  never  write 
another  line.' 

"  'And  do  you  think  these  are  the  people'which  write  to  me? 
If  I  could  think  so,  I  should  be  exceedingly  happy.  A  great 
proportion  of  the  people  of  England  are  refined  down  to  such 
heartlessness  ;  criticism,  private  and  public,  is  so  much  influ 
enced  by  politics,  that  it  is  really  delightful  to  know  there  is  a 
more  generous  tribunal.  Indeed,  1  think  many  of  our  authors 
now  are  beginning  to  write  for  America.  We  think  already  a 
great  deal  of  your  praise  or  censure.' 

"  I  asked  if  her  ladyship  had  known  many  Americans. 

';  '  Not  in  London,  but  a  great  many  abroad.  I  was  with 
Lord  Blcssington  in  his  yacht  at  Naples  when  the  American  fleet 
was  lying  there  ten  or  eleven  years  ago,  and  we  were  constantly 
on  board  your  ships.  I  knew  Commodore  Creighton  and  Cap 
tain  Deacon  extremely  well,  and  liked  them  particularly.  They 
were  with  us  frequently  of  an  evening  on  board  the  yacht  or 
the  frigate,  and  I  remember  very  well  the  bands  playing  always 
"  God  save  the  King"  as  we  went  up  the  side.  Count  D'Orsay 
here,  who  spoke  very  little  English  at  the  time,  had  a  great  pas 
sion  for  "  Yankee  Doodle,"  and  it  was  always  played  at  his  re 
quest.' 

"  The  count,  who  still  speaks  the  language  with  a  very  slight 
accent,  but  with  a  choice  of  words  that  shows  him  to  be  a  man 


SEAMORE  PLACE.  147 

of  uncommon  tact  and  elegance  of  mind,  inquired  after  several 
of  the  officers,  whom  I  have  not  the  pleasure  of  knowing.  He 
seems  to  remember  his  visits  to  the  frigate  with  great  pleasure. 
The  conversation,  after  running  upon  a  variety  of  topics,  turned 
very  naturally  upon  Byron.  I  had  frequently  seen  the  Countess 
Ghiiccioli  on  the  Continent,  and  I  asked  Lady  Blessington  if  she 
knew  her. 

"  '  Yes,  very  well.  We  were  at  Genoa  when  they  were  living 
there,  but  we  never  saw  her.  It  was  at  Rome,  in  the  year  1828, 
that  I  first  knew  her,  having  formed  her  acquaintance  at  Count 
Furichal's,  the  Portuguese  embassador.' 

"  It  would  be  impossible,  of  course,  to  make  a  full  and  fail- 
record  of  a  conversation  of  some  hours.  I  have  only  noted  one 
or  two  topics  which  I  thought  most  likely  to  interest  an  Amer 
ican  reader.  During  all  this  long  visit,  however,  my  eyes  were 
very  busy  in  finishing  for  memory  a  portrait  of  the  celebrated 
and  beautiful  woman  before  me. 

"  The  portrait  of  Lady  Blessington  in  the  '  Book  of  Beauty'  is 
not  unlike  her,  but  it  is  still  an  unfavorable  likeness.  A  picture 
by  Sir  Thomas  Lawrence  hung  opposite  me,  taken,  perhaps,  at 
the  age  of  eighteen,  which  is  more  like  her,  and  as  captivating 
a  representation  of  a  just  matured  woman,  full  of  loveliness  and 
love,  the  kind  of  creature  with  whose  divine  sweetness  the 
gazer's  heart  aches,  as  ever  was  drawn  in  the  painter's  most 
inspired  hour.  The  original  is  no  longer  dans  sa  premiere  jeu- 
nesse.  Still  she  looks  something  on  the  sunny  side  of  thirty. 
Her  person  is  full,  but  preserves  all  the  fineness  of  an  admira 
ble  shape  ;  her  foot  is  not  pressed  in  a  satin  slipper,  for  which 
a  Cinderella  might  long  be  sought  in  vain  ;  and  her  complexion 
(an  unusually  fair  skin,  with  very  dark  hair  and  eyebrows)  is 
of  even  a  girlish  delicacy  and  freshness.  Her  dress,  of  blue 
satin  (if  I  am  describing  her  like  a  milliner,  it  is  because  I  have 
here  and  there  a  reader  in  my  eye  who  will  be  amused  by  it), 
was  cut  low,  and  folded  across  her  bosom,  in.  a  way  to  show  to 
advantage  the  round  and  sculpture-like  curve  and  whiteness  of 
a  pair  of  exquisite  shoulders  ;  while  her  hair,  dressed  close  to 
her  head,  and  parted  simply  on  her  forehead  with  a  xich  feronicr 


148 


SEAMORE  PLACE. 


of  turquoise,  enveloped  in  clear  outline  a  head  with  which  it 
would  be  difficult  to  find  a  fault.  Her  features  are  regular,  and 
her  mouth,  the  most  expressive  of  them,  has  a  ripe  fullness  and 
freedom  of  play  peculiar  to  the  Irish  physiognomy,  and  express 
ive  of  the  most  unsuspicious  good-hurnor.  Add  to  all  this  a 
voice  merry  and  sad  hy  turns,  but  always  musical,  and  manners 
of  the  most  unpretending  elegance,  yet  even  more  remarkable 
for  their  winning  kindness,  and  you  have  the  prominent  traits 
of  one  of  the  most  lovely  and  fascinating  women  I  have  ever 
seen.  Remembering  her  talents  and  her  rank,  and  the  unenvy- 
ing  admiration  she  receives  from  the  world  of  fashion  and  ge 
nius,  it  would  be  difficult  to  reconcile  her  lot  to  the  '  doctrine 
of  compensation.'  * 

"  In  the  evening  I  kept  my  appointment  with  Lady  Blessing- 
ton.  She  had  deserted  her  exquisite  library  for  the  drawing- 
room,  and  sat,  in  full  dress,  with  six  or  seven  gentlemen  about 
her.  I  was  presented  immediately  to  all ;  and  when  the  con 
versation  was  resumed,  I  took  the  opportunity  to  remark  the  dis 
tinguished  coterie  with  which  she  was  surrounded. 

"  Nearest  me  sat  Smith,  the  author  of  *  Rejected  Addresses' — 
a  hale,  handsome  man,  apparently  fifty,  with  white  hair,  and  a 
very  nobly-formed  head  and  physiognomy.  His  eye  alone — 
small,  and  with  lids  contracted  into  an  habitual  look  of  drollery, 
betrayed  the  bent  of  his  genius.  He  held  a  cripple's  crutch  in 
his  hand,  and,  though  otherwise  rather  particularly  well-dressed, 
wore  a  pair  of  large  India-rubber  shoes — the  penalty  he  was  pay 
ing,  doubtless,  for  the  many  good  dinners  he  had  eaten.  He 
played  rather  an  aside  in  the  conversation,  whipping  in  with  a 
quiz  or  witticism  whenever  he  could  get  an  opportunity,  but 
more  a  listener  than  a  talker. 

"  On  the  opposite  side  of  Lady  Blessington  stood  Henry  Bul- 
wer,  the  brother  of  the  novelist,  very  earnestly  engaged  in  a 
discussion  of  some  speech  of  O'ConnelPs.  He  is  said  by  many 
to  be  as  talented  as  his  brother,  and  has  lately  published  a  book 
on  the  present  state  of  France.  He  is  a  small  man;  very  slight 
and  gentlemanlike  ;  a  little  pitted  with  the  small-pox,  and  of 

*  Pencilings  by  the  Way,  p.  355,  350, 


SEAMORE  PLACE. 


149 


very  winning  and  persuasive  manners.  I  liked  him  at  the  first 
glance. 

"  A  German  prince,  with  a  star  on  his  breast,  trying  with  all 
his  might — but,  from  his  embarrassed  look,  quite  unsuccessful 
ly — to  comprehend  the  drift  of  the  argument ;  the  Duke  de  Rich 
elieu  ;  a  famous  traveler  just  returned  from  Constantinople  ;  and 
the  splendid  person  of  Count  D'Orsay,  in  a  careless  attitude  upon 
the  ottoman,  completed  the  cordon. 

"  I  fell  into  conversation  after  a  while  with  Smith,  who,  sup 
posing  I  might  not  have  heard  the  names  of  the  others  in  the 
hurry  of  an  introduction,  kindly  took  the  trouble  to  play  the  dic 
tionary,  and  added  a  graphic  character  of  each  as  he  named 
him.  Among  other  things,  he  talked  a  great  deal  of  America, 
and  asked  me  if  I  knew  our  distinguished  countryman,  Wash 
ington  Irving.  I  had  never  been  so  fortunate  as  to  meet  him. 
'You  have  lost  a  great  deal,'  he  said,  'for  never  was  so  delight 
ful  a  fellow.  I  was  once  taken  down  with  him  into  the  country  by 
a  merchant  to  dinner.  Our  friend  stopped  his  carriage  at  the  gate 
of  his  park,  and  asked  us  if  we  would  walk  through  his  grounds 
to  the  house.  Irving  refused,  and  held  me  down  by  the  coat, 
so  that  we  drove  on  to  the  house  together,  leaving  our  host  to 
follow  on  foot.  '  I  make  it  a  principle,'  said  Irving,  '  never  to 
walk  with  a  man  through  his  own  grounds.  I  have  no  idea  of 
praising  a  thing  whether  I  like  it  or  not.  You  and  I  will  do 
them  to-morrow  morning  by  ourselves.'  The  rest  of  the  com 
pany  had  turned  their  attention  to  Smith  as  he  began  his  story, 
and  there  was  a  universal  inquiry  after  Mr.  Irving.  Indeed, 
the  first  question  on  the  lips  of  every  one  to  whom  I  am  intro 
duced  as  an  American  is  of  him  and  Cooper.  The  latter  seems 
to  me  to  be  admired  as  much  here  as  abroad,  in  spite  of  a  com 
mon  impression  that  he  dislikes  the  nation.  No  man's  works 
could  have  higher  praise  in  the  general  conversation  that  fol 
lowed,  though  several  instances  were  mentioned  of  his  having 
shown  an  unconquerable  aversion  to  the  English  when  in  En 
gland.  Lady  Blessington  mentioned  Mr.  Bryant,  and  I  was 
pleased  at  the  immediate  tribute  paid  to  his  delightful  poetry 
by  the  talented  circle  around  her. 


150  SEAMORE  PLACE. 

"  Toward  twelve  o'clock  Mr.  Lytton  Bulwer  was  announced, 
and  enter  the  author  of '  Pelham.'  I  had  made  up  my  mind 
how  he  should  look,  and,  between  prints  and  descriptions,  thought 
I  could  scarcely  be  mistaken  in  my  idea  of  his  person.  No  two 
thino-s  could  be  more  unlike,  however,  than  the  ideal  of  Mr. 
Buhver  in  my  mind  and  the  real  Mr.  Bulwer  who  followed  the 
announcement.  I  liked  his  manners  extremely.  He  ran  up  to 
Lady  Blessington  with  the  joyous  heartiness  of  a  boy  let  out  of 
school ;  and  the  '  how  d'ye,  Bulwer?'  went  round,  as  he  shook 
hands  with  every  body,  in  the  style  of  welcome  usually  given  to 
'  the  best  fellow  in  the  world.'  As  I  had  brought  a  letter  of  in 
troduction  to  him  from  a  friend  in  Italy,  Lady  Blessington  intro 
duced  me  particularly,  and  we  had  a  long  conversation  about 
Naples  and  its  pleasant  society. 

"  Bulwer's  head  is  phrenologically  a  fine  one.  His  forehead 
retreats  very  much,  but  is  very  broad  and  well  masked,  and  the 
whole  air  is  that  of  decided  mental  superiority.  His  nose  is 
aquiline.  His  complexion  is  fair,  his  hair  profuse,  curly,  and  of 
a  light  auburn.  A  more  good-natured,  habitually-smiling  ex 
pression  could  hardly  be  imagined.  Perhaps  my  impression  is 
an  imperfect  one,  as  he  was  in  the  highest  spirits,  and  was  not 
serious  the  whole  evening  for  a  minute — but  it  is  strictly  and 
faithfully  my  impression. 

"  I  can  imagine  no  style  of  conversation  calculated  to  be  more 
agreeable  than  Bulwer's.  Gay,  quick,  various,  half-satirical,  and 
always  fresh  and  different  from  every  body  else,  he  seemed  to 
talk  because  he  could  not  help  it,  and  infected  every  body  with 
his  spirits.  I  can  not  give  even  the  substance  of  it  in  a  letter, 
for  it  was  in  a  great  measure  local  or  personal. 

"  Bulwer's  voice,  like  his  brother's,  is  exceedingly  lover-like 
and  sweet.  His  playful  tones  are  quite  delicious,  arid  his  clear 
laugh  is  the  soul  of  sincere  and  careless  merriment. 

"  It  is  quite  impossible  to  convey  in  a  letter,  scrawled  literally 
between  the  end  of  a  late  visit  and  a  tempting  pillow,  the  e\a- 
nescent  and  pure  spirit  of  a  conversation  of  wits.  I  must  con 
fine  myself,  of  course,  in  such  sketches,  to  the  mere  sentiment 
of  things  that  concern  general  literature  and  ourselves. 


SEAMORE  PLACE.  151 

"  '  The  Rejected  Addresses'  got  upon  his  crutches  about  three 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  I  made  my  exit  with  the  rest,  thank 
ing  Heaven  that,  though  in  a  strange  country,  my  mother  tongue 
was  the  language  of  its  men  of  genius. 

';  Letter  June  14,  1834.  1  was  at  Lady  Blessington's  at  eight. 
Moore  had  not  arrived,  but  the  other  persons  of  the  party — a 
Russian  count,  who  spoke  all  the  languages  of  Europe  as  well 
as  his  own ;  a  Roman  banker,  whose  dynasty  is  more  powerful 
than  the  Pope's  ;  a  clever  English  nobleman,  and  the  ;  observed 
of  all  observers,'  Count  D'Orsay,  stood  in  the  window  upon  the 
park,  killing,  as  they  might,  the  melancholy  twilight  half  hour 
preceding  dinner. 

"  Dinner  was  announced,  the  Russian  handed  down  '  miladi,' 
and  I  found  myself  seated  opposite  Moore,  with  a  blaze  of  light 
on  his  Bacchus  head,  and  the  mirrors  with  which  the  superb 
octagonal  room  is  paneled  reflecting  every  motion  ....  The  soup 
vanished  in  the  busy  silence  that  beseems  it,  and  as  the  courses 
commenced  their  procession,  Lady  Blessington  led  the  conversa 
tion  with  the  brilliancy  and  ease  for  which  she  is  remarkable 
over  all  the  women  I  ever  met .... 

"O'Connell  was  mentioned. 

"  '  He  is  a  powerful  creature,'  said  Moore  ;  '  but  his  eloquence 
has  done  great  harm  both  to  England  and  Ireland.  There  is 
nothing  so  powerful  as  oratory.  The  faculty  of  "  thinking  on  his 
legs"  is  a  tremendous  engine  in  the  hands  of  any  man.  There 
is  an  undue  admiration  for  this  faculty,  and  a  sway  permitted 
to  it  which  was  always  more  dangerous  to  a  country  than  any 

thing  else.  Lord  A is  a  wonderful  instance  of  what  a  man 

may  do  without  talking.  There  is  a  general  confidence  in  him — 
a  universal  belief  in  his  honesty,  which  serves  him  instead. 
Peel  is  a  fine  speaker,  but,  admirable  as  he  had  been  as  an  Op 
positionist,  he  failed  when  he  came  to  lead  the  House.  O'Con- 
nell  would  be  irresistible,  were  it  not  for  the  two  blots  on  his 
character — the  contributions  in  Ireland  for  his  support,  and  his 
refusal  to  give  satisfaction  to  the  man  he  is  still  willing  to  at 
tack.  They  may  say  what  they  will  of  dueling  :  it  is  the  great 
preserver  of  the  decencies  of  society.  The  old  school,  which 


152  SEAMORE  PLACE. 

made  a  man  responsible  for  his  words,  was  the  better.  I  must 
confess  I  think  so.  Then,  in  O'ConnelPs  case,  he  had  not  made 
his  vow  against  dueling  when  Peel  challenged  him.  He  ac 
cepted  the  challenge,  and  Peel  went  to  Dover  on  his  way  to 
France,  where  they  were  to  meet;  and  O'Connell  pleaded  his 
wife's  illness,  and  delayed  till  the  law  interfered.*  Some  other 
Irish  patriot,  about  the  same  time,  refused  a  challenge  on  ac 
count  of  the  illness  of  his  daughter,  arid  one  of  the  Dublin  wits 
made  a  good  epigram  on  the  two  : 

"  Some  men,  with  a  horror  of  slaughter, 
Improve  on  the  Scripture  command, 
And  '  honor  their'  wife  and  their  daughter, 
'  That  their  days  may  be  long  in  the  land.'  " 

The  great  period  of  Ireland's  glory,'  continued  Moore,  '  was  be 
tween  '82  and  '98,  and  it  was  a  time  when  a  man  almost  lived 
with  a  pistol  in  his  hand.  Crrattan's  dying  advice  to  his  son 
was,  "  Be  always  ready  with  the  pistol !'?  He  himself  never  hes 
itated  a  moment .  . .  .' 

"  Talking  of  Grattan,  is  it  not  wonderful,  with  all  the  agitation 
in  Ireland,  we  have  had  no  such  man  since  his  time  ?  You  can 
scarcely  reckon  Shiel  of  the  calibre  of  her  spirits  of  old,  and 
O'Connell,  with  all  his  faults,  stands  alone  in  his  glory. 

"The  conversation  I  have  given  is  a  mere  skeleton,  of  course  .  .  . 

"  This  discussion  may  be  supposed  to  have  occupied  the  hour 
after  Lady  Blessington  retired  from  the  table  ;  for  with  her  van 
ished  Moore's  excitement,  and  every  body  else  seemed  to  feel 
that  light  had  gone  out  of  the  room.  Her  excessive  beauty  is 
less  an  inspiration  than  the  wondrous  talent  with  which  she 
draws  from  every  person  around  her  his  peculiar  excellence. 
Talking  better  than  any  body  else,  and  narrating,  particularly, 
with  a  graphic  power  that  I  never  saw  excelled,  this  distin 
guished  woman  seems  striving  only  to  make  others  unfold  them 
selves  ;  and  never  had  diffidence  a  more  apprehensive  and  cn- 

*  There  are  many  statements  made  and  opinions  expressed  by  Mr.  Willis  in 
the  extracts  above  given,  with  regard  to  which,  silence,  it  is  hoped,  will  not  be 
taken  for  acquiescence  in  their  justice. — R.  It,  M. 


SEAMORE  PLACE.  153 

couraging  listener.  But  this  is  a  subject  with  which  I  should 
never  be  done. 

"We  went  up  to  coffee,  and  Moore  brightened  again  over  his 
chasse-cafe,  and  went  glittering  on  with  criticisms  on  Grisi,  the 
delicious  songstress  now  ravishing  the  world,  whom  he  placed 
above  all  but  Pasta  ;  and  whom  he  thought,  with  the  exception 
that  her  legs  were  too  short,  an  incomparable  creature.  This 
introduced  music  very  naturally,  and  with  a  great  deal  of  dif 
ficulty  he  was  taken  to  the  piano.  My  letter  is  getting  long, 
and  I  have  no  time  to  describe  his  singing.  It  is  well  known, 
however,  that  its  effect  is  only  equaled  by  the  beauty  of  his 
own  words  ;  and,  for  one,  I  could  have  taken  him  into  my  heart 
with  my  delight.  He  makes  no  attempt  at  music.  It  is  a  kind 
of  admirable  recitative,  in  which  every  shade  of  thought  is  syl 
labled  and  dwelt  upon,  and  the  sentiment  of  the  song  goes 
through  your  blood,  warming  you  to  the  very  eyelids,  and  start 
ing  your  tears,  if  you  have  a  soul  or  sense  in  you.  I  have  heard 
of  women's  fainting  at  a  song  of  Moore's  ;  and  if  the  burden  of 
it  answered  by  chance  to  a  secret  in  the  bosom  of  the  listener, 
I  should  think,  from  its  comparative  effect  upon  so  old  a  stager 
as  myself,  that  the  heart  would  break  with  it. 

"We  all  sat  around  the  piano,  and  after  two  or  three  songs 
of  Lady  Blessington's  choice,  he  rambled  over  the  keys  a  while, 
and  sang  'When  first  I  met  thee'  with  a  pathos  that  beggars 
description.  When  the  last  word  had  faltered  out,  he  rose  and 
took  Lady  Blessington's  hand,  said  good-night,  and  was  gone 
before  a  word  was  uttered."* 

In  a  former  edition  of  "  the  Pencilings,"  there  are  some  refer 
ences  to  one  of  the  literary  men  of  distinction  he  met  on  the  oc 
casion  above  referred  to  which  do  not  exist  in  the  later  edition. 
In  these  references  there  are  some  remarks,  intended  to  be  smart 
sayings,  exceedingly  superficial  and  severe,  as  well  as  unjust ; 
but  there  are  other  observations  which  are  no  less  true  than 
happily  expressed,  especially  with  regard  to  the  descriptive  and 
conversational  powers  of  one  of  the  most  highly  gifted  of  all  the 
celebrities  of  Gore  House  society. 

*  Pencilings  by  the  Way,  p.  360  to  367. 

H2 


J54  SEAMORE  PLACE. 

"  D'Israeli  had  arrived  before  me  at  Lady  Blessington's,  and 
sat  in  the  deep  window,  looking  out  upon  Hyde  Park,  with  the 
last  rays  of  daylight  reflected  from  the  gorgeous  gold  flowers 
of  a  splendidly  embroidered  waistcoat.  Patent  leather  pumps, 
a  white  stick,  with  a  black  cord  and  tassel;  and  a  quantity  of 
chains  about  his  neck  and  pockets,  served  to  make  him,  even  in 
the  dim  light,  rather  a  conspicuous  object.  D'Israeli  has  one 
of  the  most  remarkable  faces  1  ever  saw.  He  is  lividly  pale, 
and,  but  for  the  energy  of  his  action  and  the  strength  of  his 
lungs,  would  seem  a  victim  to  consumption.  His  eye  is  black 
as  Erebus,  and  has  the  most  mocking  and  lying-in-wait  sort  of 
expression  conceivable  .... 

'  His  hair  is  as  extraordinary  as  his  taste  in  waistcoats.  A 
thick,  heavy  mass  of  jet  black  ringlets  falls  over  his  left  cheek 
almost  to  his  collarless  stock,  while  on  the  right  it  is  parted 
and  put  away  with  the  smooth  carefulness  of  a  girl's,  and  shines 
most  unctuously 

"  '  With  thy  incomparable  oil,  Macassar.' 

D'Israeli  was  the  only  one  at  table  who  knew  Beckford,  and  the 
style  in  which  he  gave  a  sketch  of  his  habits  and  manners  was 
worthy  of  himself.  I  might  as  well  attempt  to  gather  up  the 
foam  of  the  sea  as  to  convey  an  idea  of  the  extraordinary  lan 
guage  in  which  he  clothed  his  description.  There  were  at  least 
five  words  in  every  sentence  that  must  have  been  very  much  as 
tonished  at  the  use  they  were  put  to,  and  yet  no  others  appar 
ently  could  so  well  have  conveyed  his  idea.  He  talked  like  a 
race-horse  approaching  the  winning  post,  every  muscle  in  ac 
tion,  and  the  utmost  energy  of  expression  flung  out  in  every 
burst.  Victor  Hugo  and  his  extraordinary  novels  came  next 
under  discussion  ;  and  D'Israeli,  who  was  fired  with  his  own 
eloquence,  started  off,  apropos  dcs  bottcs,  with  a  long  story  of 
impalement  he  had  seen  in  Upper  Egypt.  It  was  as  good,  and, 
perhaps,  as  authentic  as  the  description  of  the  chow-chow-tow 
in  'Vivian  Grey.'  The  circumstantiality  of  the  account  was 
equally  horrible  and  amusing.  Then  followed  the  sufferer's 
history,  with  a  score  of  murders  and  barbarities,  heaped  to- 


SEAMORE  PLACE.  155 

gether,  like  Martin's  feast  of  Belshazzar,  with  a  mixture  of  hor 
ror  and  splendor  that  was  unparalleled  in  my  experience  of  im 
provisation.  No  mystic  priest  of  the  Corybantes  could  have 
worked  himself  up  into  a  finer  phrensy  of  language." 

My  recollection  of  the  scene  to  which  I  think  Mr.  Willis  al 
ludes  is  of  a  very  different  kind,  so  far  as  relates  to  the  impres 
sion  made  by  the  truly  extraordinary  powers  of  description  of 
Mr.  D'Israeli. 

Haydon,  in  his  diary,  27th  of  February,  1835,  writes,  "Went 
to  Lady  Blessington's  in  the  evening ;  every  body  goes  to  Lady 
Blessington.  She  has  the  first  news  of  every  thing,  and  every 
body  seems  delighted  to  tell  her.  No  woman  will  be  more 
missed.  She  is  the  centre  of  more  talent  and  gayety  than  any 
other  woman  of  fashion  in  London."* 

In  the  summer  of  1833,  Lady  Blessington  met  with  a  severe 
loss.  Her  house  in  Seamore  Place  was  broken  into  at  night  by 
thieves,  and  plate  and  jewelry  to  the  value  of  about  jGlOOO 
were  carried  off,  and  never  afterward  recovered.  This  was  the 
first  disaster  in  the  way  of  loss  of  property  that  occurred  to  her. 
A  few  years  later,  she  was  destined  to  see  every  thing  swept 
away  she  was  accustomed  to  set  a  store  on,  every  object  of  lux 
ury  that  had  become  a  necessity  to  the  splendid  misery  of  her 
mode  of  life — costly  furniture,  magnificent  mirrors,  adornments 
of  salons,  valuable  pictures,  portraits  by  the  first  masters,  all  the 
literary  baubles  of  the  boudoir  and  precious  ornaments  of  the 
person,  rarities  from  every  land,  books  elegantly  bound,  and  per 
haps  more  prized  than  all  her  other  treasures. 

Lady  Blessington  removed  from  Seamore  Place  to  the  more 
spacious  and  elegant  mansion  of  Gore  House,  Kensington  Gore, 
the  former  abode  of  William  Wilberforce,  in  the  early  part  of 
1836.  And  here  her  ladyship  remained  till  the  14th  of  April, 
1849. 

GORE    HOUSE. 

Any  person  acquainted  with  Lady  Blessington  when  residing 
at  the  villa  Belvidere  at  Naples,  the  Palazzo  Negrone  at  Rome, 

*  Memoirs  of  B.  R.  Haydon,  vol.  iii.,  p.  12. 


156  GORE  HOUSE. 

her  delightful  residence  at  Seamore  Place  in  London,  and  her 
latest  English  place  of  abode  in  Gore  House,  must  have  ob 
served  the  remarkable  changes  that  had  come  over  her  mind  at 
the  different  epochs  of  her  career  in  intellectual  society  and  in 
fashionable  life  from  1823  to  1849. 

In  Naples,  the  charm  of  Lady  Blessington's  conversation  and 
society  was  indescribably  effective.  The  genial  air,  the  beau 
tiful  scenery  of  the  place,  and  all  the  "influences  of  the  sweet 
South,"  seemed  to  have  delighted,  soothed,  and  spiritualized  her 
feelings.  A  strong  tendency  to  fastidiousness  of  taste,  to  weari 
ness  of  mind  in  the  enjoyment  of  any  long-continued  entertain 
ment  or  amusement,  to  sudden  impulses  of  hastiness  of  temper 
(as  distinguished  from  habitual  ill-humor),  had  been  subdued 
and  softened  by  those  changes  of  scenery  and  "  skiey  influ 
ences  ;"  and,  above  all,  there  was  observable  in  her  animal  spir 
its  a  flow  of  hilarity,  a  natural  vivacity,  such  as  those  who  knew 
her  in  early  life  were  well  aware  had  belonged  to  her  childhood, 
and  which,  having  been  restrained  and  checked  to  some  extent, 
had  resumed,  in  the  south  of  Italy,  its  original  character  of  out- 
bursting  gaite  du  ca>ur.  The  ringing  laugh  of  joyous  girlhood, 
which  Mrs.  Jordan  used  to  act  to  such  perfection,  was  a  reality 
with  Lady  Blessington  in  those  merry  moods  of  hers  in  Naples, 
which  were  then,  indeed,  neither  "  few  nor  far  between." 

In  society  Lady  Blessington  was  then  supremely  attractive  ; 
she  was  natural  and  sprightly,  and  spirituellc  in  proportion,  to 
her  naturalness,  and  utter  absence  of  all  appearance  of  an  effort 
to  be  effective  in  conversation. 

At  the  distance  of  a  period  of  three  years  from  the  time  of 
my  departure  from  Naples,  when  I  next  met  Lady  Blessington 
at  Rome,  that  vivacity  to  which  I  have  referred  seemed  to  me 
to  have  been  considerably  impaired.  She  had  become  more  of 
a  learned  lady,  a  queen  regnant  in  literary  circles,  expected  to 
speak  with  authority  on  subjects  of  art  and  literature,  and  less 
of  the  agreeable  woman,  eminently  graceful,  and  full  of  gayety, 
whom  I  had  parted  with  in  Naples  in  1824.  But  she  was  at 
all  times  attractive  and  triumphant  in  her  efforts  to  reign  in  the 
society  she  moved  in  ;  and  she  was,  moreover,  at  all  times  kind 
ly  dippoppcl  and  fnithfn]  in  her  friendship*. 


GORE  HOUSE.  157 

After  an  interval  of  nearly  five  years,  I  renewed  my  acquaint 
ance  with  Lady  Blessington  in  Seamore  Place.  It  was  evident 
that  another  great  "  change  had  come  over  the  spirit  of  her 
dream"  of  life  since  I  had  last  seen  her.  Cares,  and  troubles, 
and  trials  of  various  kinds  had  befallen  her,  and  left,  if  not  vis 
ible  external  traces,  at  least  perceptible  internal  evidence  of 
their  effects. 

After  a  lapse  of  two  or  three  years,  my  acquaintance  with 
Lady  Blessington  was  renewed  at  Gore  House.  The  new  estab 
lishment  was  on  a  scale  of  magnificence  exceeding  even  that  of 
Seamore  Place. 

The  brilliant  society  by  which  she  was  surrounded  did  not 
seem  to  have  contributed  much  to  her  felicity.  There  was  no 
happiness  in  the  circles  of  Gore  House  comparable  to  that  of 
the  Palazzo  Belvidere  in  Naples.  There  was  manifestly  a  great 
intellectual  effort  made  to  keep  up  the  charm  of  that  society, 
and  no  less  manifest  was  it  that  a  great  pecuniary  effort  was 
making  to  meet  the  large  expenditure  of  the  establishment  that 
was  essential  for  it.  That  society  was  felt  by  her  to  be  a  ne 
cessity  in  England.  It  had  been  a  luxury  in  Italy,  and  had  been 
enjoyed  there  without  anxiety  for  cost,  or  any  experience  of  the 
wear  and  tear  of  life  that  is  connected  with  arduous  exertions 
to  maintain  a  position  in  London  haul  ton  society,  acquired  with 
difficulty,  and  often  supported  under  continually  increasing  em 
barrassments. 

But,  notwithstanding  the  symptoms  of  care  and  anxiety  that 
were  noticeable  in  Lady  Blessington's  appearance  and  conver 
sation  at  that  period  of  her  Gore  House  celebrity,  her  powers 
of  attraction  and  of  pleasing  had  lost  none  of  their  influences. 
There  were  a  higher  class  of  men  of  great  intellect  at  her  soirees 
than  were  formerly  wont  to  congregate  about  her.  Lady  Bless 
ington  no  longer  spoke  of  books  and  bookish  men  with  diffi 
dence,  or  any  marked  deference  for  the  opinions  of  other  per 
sons  :  she  laid  down  the  law  of  her  own  sentiments  in  conver 
sation  rather  dogmatically ;  she  aimed  more  at  saying  smart 
things  than  heretofore,  and  seemed  more  desirous  of  congrega 
ting  celebrities  of  distinction  in  her  salons  than  of  gathering 


158  GORE  HOUSE. 

round  her  people  solely  for  the  agrcmcns  of  their  society,  or  any 
peculiarities  in  their  characters  or  acquirements. 

There  was  more  of  gravity  and  formality  in  her  conversaziones 
than  there  had  been  wont  to  be,  and  the  conversation  generally 
was  no  longer  of  that  gay,  enlivening,  cheerful  character,  abound 
ing  in  drollery  and  humor,  which  made  the  great  charm  of  her 
reunions  in  the  villa  Belvidere.  and  in  a  minor  degree  in  Sea- 
more  Place. 

In  Gore  House  society,  Lady  Blessington  had  given  herself  a 
mission,  in  which  she  labored  certainly  with  great  assiduity  and 
wonderful  success — that  of  bringing  together  people  of  the  same 
pursuits,  who  were  rivals  in  them  for  professional  distinction, 
and  inclining  competitors  for  fame  in  politics,  art,  and  literature, 
to  tolerant,  just,  and  charitable  opinions  of  one  another.  This, 
most  assuredly,  was  a  very  good  and  noble  object,  and  in  her 
efforts  to  attain  it  she  was  well  seconded  by  Count  D'Orsay. 

The  count,  indeed,  not  only  devoted  his  talents  to  this  object, 
but  extended  his  aims  to  the  accomplishment  of  a  purpose  cal 
culated  to  do  a  great  deal  of  good  ;  to  remove  the  groundless 
misapprehensions  of  unacquainted  intellectual  people  of  neigh 
boring  countries,  the  fruitful  cause  of  national  jealousies  and  an 
tipathies  ;  to  remove  the  prejudices  which  had  raised  barriers 
even  in  the  best  societies  between  English  people  and  foreign 
ers,  to  level  distinctions  on  account  of  difference  of  country,  and 
to  unite  the  high  intelligences  of  various  nations  in  bonds  of 
social  intercourse. 

The  party  warfare  that  is  waged  in  art,  literature,  and  politics, 
it  seemed  to  be  the  main  object  of  the  mistress  of  Gore  House, 
in  the  high  sphere  in  which  she  moved,  to  assuage,  to  put  an 
end  to,  and,  when  interrupted,  to  prevent  the  recurrence  of.  It 
was  astonishing  with  what  tact  this  object  was  pursued  ;  and 
those  only  who  have  seen  much  of  the  correspondence  of  Lady 
Blessington  can  form  any  idea  of  the  labor  she  imposed  on  her 
self  in  removing  unfavorable  impressions,  explaining  away  dif 
ferences,  inducing  estranged  people  to  make  approaches  to  an 
accommodation,  to  meet  and  to  be  reconciled.  These  labors 
were  not  confined  to  people  of  the  studio  or  of  literary  pursuits  ; 


GORE  HOUSE.  159 

grave  politicians  and  solemn  statesmen,  great  legal  functiona 
ries,  and  even  divines,  have  been  largely  indebted  to  them.  She 
threw  herself  into  those  labors  with  an  earnestness  which  seem 
ed  almost  incredible  to  those  who  were  accustomed  to  the  re 
serve  and  absence  of  all  demonstrativeriess  of  feeling  that  is  sup 
posed  to  characterize  the  haut  ton  of  English  society. 

Mackintosh,  in  his  beautiful  "  Life  of  Sir  Thomas  More,"  en 
forcing  the  virtue  of  moderation  and  tolerance  of  opinion,  and 
reprobating  the  vulgar  brutality  of  "  hating  men  for  their  opin 
ions,"  said,  "  All  men,  in  the  fierce  contests  of  contending  fac 
tions,  should,  from  such  an  example,  learn  the  wisdom  to  fear, 
lest  in  their  most  hated  antagonist  they  may  strike  down  a  Sir 
Thomas  More  ;  for  assuredly  virtue  is  not  so  narrowed  as  to  be 
confined  to  any  party,  and  we  have  in  the  case  of  More  a  signal 
example,  that  the  nearest  approach  to  perfect  excellence  does 
not  exempt  men  from  mistakes  which  we  may  justly  deem  mis 
chievous.  It  is  a  pregnant  proof  that  we  should  beware  of  hat 
ing  men  for  their  opinions,  or  of  adopting  their  doctrines  because 
we  love  and  venerate  their  virtues." 

But  the  high  purposes  to  which  I  have  referred  as  actuating 
Lady  Blessington  and  the  Count  D'Orsay,  namely,  of  bringing 
together  eminent  and  estimable  people  of  similar  pursuits,  who 
had  been  estranged  from  one  another,  at  variance,  or  on  bad 
terms,  did  not  interfere  occasionally  with  the  exercise  of  the  pe^ 
culiar  talents  and  inclinations  of  both  for  drawing  out  absurd  or 
eccentric  people  for  the  amusement  of  their  visitors. 

One  of  the  visitors  who  frequented  Gore  House  about  1837 
and  1838  was  a  very  remarkable  old  French  gentleman,  then 
upward  of  seventy  years  of  age,  whom  I  had  known  intimately 
both  in  France  and  England — "  Monsieur  Julien  le  jeune  de 
Paris,"  as  he  styled  himself. 

He  had  figured  in  the  great  French  Revolution  —  had  been 
patronised  by  Robespierre,  and  employed  by  him  in  Paris  arid 
in  the  south  of  France  in  the  Reign  of  Terror.  It  was  generally 
asserted  and  believed  that  he  had  voted  for  the  death  of  Louis 
the  Sixteenth.  That,  however,  was  not  the  fact.  It  was  Mon 
sieur  Julien  1'aine  who  gave  his  voice  for  the  execution  of  his 


IQQ  GORE  HOUSE. 

sovereign.  I  believe,  moreover,  that  Monsieur  Julien  le  jeune, 
though  employed  under  Robespierre,  and  at  one  time  even  act 
ing  as  his  secretary,  was  not  a  man  of  blood  de  son  grc,  though 
a  very  ardent  Republican  at  the  period  of  the  regime  of  terror. 

If  my  poor  friend,  Monsieur  Julien  le  jeune,  was  for  some  time 
a  minister  of  that  system,  he  certainly  repented  of  it,  and  made 
all  the  atonement,  as  he  thought,  that  could  be  made  by  him,  by 
his  connection  with  a  number  of  philanthropical  societies,  and 
the  advocacy  of  the  abolition  of  the  punishment  of  death,  the 
slave-trade,  and  slavery,  and  also  by  the  composition  of  various 
works  of  a  half  moral,  part  political  and  polemical  kind,  and  a 
considerable  quantity  of  lachrymose  poetry,  chiefly  devoted  to 
the  illustration  of  the  wrongs  and  persecutions  he  had  suffered 
for  his  country  and  his  opinions.  His  pieces  on  this  subject, 
which  were  extremely  lengthy  and  doleful,  he  called  "  Mes  Cha 
grins  Politiqucs" 

Julien  had  commenced  ';  patriotic  declamation"  at  a  very 
early  period  of  his  career,  on  the  great  stage  of  the  Revolution 
of  1789.  Touchard  la  Fosse,  in  his  "  Souvenirs  d'un  demi  siecle," 
makes  mention  of  him  at  Bordeaux,  at  the  time  that  Tallien,  one 
of  the  leading  Terrorists,  was  there  on  his  mission  of  extermina 
tion,  seeking  out  the  last  remains  of  the  fugitive  Girondists. 
The  future  Madame  Tallien,  an  enchantress  of  the  Corinne 
school,  daughter  of  the  Spanish  banker  Monsieur  Cabarrus,  then 
bearing  the  name  of  Madame  Fontenay,  was  also  at  Bordeaux, 
at  that  time  "  in  the  dawn  of  her  celebrity." 

"  It  was  one  day  announced,"  says  Touchard  la  Fosse,  "  that 
a  beautiful  citizeness  had  composed  a  wonderfully  patriotic  ora 
tion,  which  would  be  delivered  at  the  club  by  a  young  patriot 
named  Julien  (who  subsequently,  during  the  Empire,  held  sev 
eral  important  posts  in  the  military  administration,  and  who, 
since  the  Restoration  better  known  as  Julien  de  Paris,  was,  in 
conjunction  with  the  estimable  Amaury  Duval,  the  founder  of 
the  *  Revue  Encyclopedique'). 

"  The  following  decade  was  the  time  fixed  for  the  delivery  of 
his  discourse.  The  club  was  full.  All  eyes  were  bent  upon  a 
young  woman  dressed  in  a  riding  habit  of  dark  blue  kerseymere 


GORE  HOUSE.  161 

faced  and  trimmed  with  red  velvet.  Upon  her  beautiful  black 
hair,  cropped  a  la  Titus,  then  a  perfectly  new  fashion,  was  light 
ly  set,  on  one  side,  a  scarlet  cap  trimmed  with  fur.  Madame 
Fontenay  is  said  to  have  been  most  beautiful  in  this  attire. 

"  The  oration,  admirably  well  read  by  Citizen  Julien,  excited 
wonderful  admiration.  Its  commonplace  patriotic  declamation, 
lighted  up  by  a  reflection  of  the  admiration  felt  for  the  author, 
gained  it  the  utmost  praise.  Unanimous  applause,  flattering 
address  of  the  president,  honors  of  the  sitting — in  short,  all  the 
remunerations  of  popular  assemblies,  were  launched  upon  this 
beautiful  patriot." 

"  Le  Cher  Julien"  thus,  we  find,  had  commenced  his  metier  of 
patriotic  recitations  some  forty-three  or  four  years  previously  to 
his  exhibitions  in  Seamore  Place.  The  first  performance  was 
in  the  presence  of  a  very  celebrated  French  enchantress,  who 
reigned  in  Revolutionary  circles,  and  the  latest  was  in  the  pres 
ence  of  an  Irish  enchantress,  who  reigned  over  literary  fashion 
able  society  in  London. 

At  the  period  of  his  sojourn  in  London  his  head  was  filled 
with  these  "  Chagrins."  As  regularly  as  he  presented  himself 
in  the  evenings  at  the  salons  of  Lady  Blessington,  he  brought 
with  him,  on  each  occasion,  a  roll  of  paper  in  his  side  pocket, 
consisting  of  some  sheets  of  foolscap  filled  with  his  "  Chagrins," 
which  would  be  seen  projecting  from  the  breast  of  his  coat, 
when,  on  entering  the  room,  he  would  stoop  to  kiss  the  hand  of 
Lady  Blessington,  after  the  manner  of  the  polished  courtiers  of 
la  Vielle  Cour ;  for  Monsieur  Julien  le  jeune,  in  his  old  age  at 
least,  was  a  perfect  specimen  of  French  courtesy,  and  preserved 
very  little  of  the  burly  bearing,  or  the  sturdy  manners  or  opin 
ions  of  a  Republican. 

Poor  Julien  le  jeune,  like  D'Alembert,  had  the  gift  of  shed 
ding  tears  at  pleasure,  to  which  don  de  larmes  of  D'Alembert,  La 
Ilarpe  was  indebted  for  the  success  of  one  of  his  dramatic  pieces. 

"  C'est  a  ce  don  de  larmes  que  La  Harpe  dut  le  succes  de  sa 
Melanie.  L 'etiquette  voulait  qu'on  cut  pleure  a  ce  drame. 
D'Alembert  ne  manquait  jamais  d'accompagner  La  Harpe.  II 
prenait  un  air  serieux  et  compose,  qui  fixait  d'abord  1'attention. 


162  GORE  HOUSE. 

An  premier  acte  il  faisait  remarquerles  ape^ues  philosophiques 
de  1'ouvrage  ;  en  suite  profitant  du  talent  qu'il  avait  pour  la  pan- 
tominc,  il  pleurait  toujours  aux  memes  endroits,  ce  qui  imposait 
aux  femmes  la  necessite,  de  s'attendrir — et  comment  auraient 
ellcs  eu  les  ycux  sees  lorsqu'un  philosophe  fondait  en  larmes  ?" 
Tom.  ii.,  10.* 

It  used  to  be  a  scene  that  it  was  most  difficult  to  witness  with 
due  restraint,  and  certainly  not  without  great  efforts  at  external 
composure,  when  Monsieur  Julien  le  jeime,  all  radiant  with 
smiles  and  overflowing  with  urbanity,  having  paid  his  devoirs 
to  her  ladyship,  would  be  approached  by  Count  D'Orsay,  and 
with  the  eyes  of  the  whole  circle  fixed  on  him  (duly  prepared 
to  expect  amusement),  the  poor  old  man  would  be  entreated  to 
favor  Lady  Blessington  with  the  recital  of  another  canto  of  his 
political  afflictions.  Then  Julien  would  protest  he  had  read  all 
that  was  worth  reading  to  her  ladyship,  but  at  length  would 
yield  to  the  persuasions  of  Lady  Blessington  with  looks  and  ges 
tures  which  plainly  said,  "  Infandmn  Regina  jubes  renovare  do- 
lorem." 

On  the  first  occasion  of  my  witnessing  this  scene,  Julien  had 
just  gone  through  the  usual  formula  of  praying  to  be  excused, 
and  had  made  the  protestation  above  referred  to,  when  D'Orsay, 
with  a  gravity  that  was  truly  admirable,  and  surprising  how  it 
could  be  maintained,  overcame  all  the  reluctance  assumed  by 
poor  old  Julien  le  jeune  to  produce  the  poem  expressly  brought 
for  recital,  by  renewed  supplications,  and  on  a  novel  plea  for  the 
reading  of  it. 

There  was  one  present,  the  count  observed,  who  had  never 
heard  the  "  Chagrins,''  long  and  earnestly  as  he  desired  that 
gratification,  "  Is'est  pas  Madden  vous  n'avez  jamais  entendu  les 
Chagrins  Politiques  de  notre  cher  ami  Monsieur  Julien?" 

All  the  reply  that  could  be  given  was  in  a  single  word, 
"  Jamais." 

"  Allons  mon  ami,"  continued  D'Orsay.  "  Ce  pauvre  Madden 
a  bien  besoin  d'eritendrc'vos  chagrins  politiques — il  a  les  siens 
aussi — (I  had  been  recently  reviewed  and  reviled  in  some  pe 
riodicals) —  Tl  a  souffcrt  —  oui  —  il  a  des  sympathies  pour  les 


GORE  HOUSE.  163 

blesses,  il  faut  le  dormer  cette  triste  plaisir — N'est  ce  pas  Mad 
den?" 

Another  dire  effort  to  respond  in  the  affirmative,  "  Oui,  Mon 
sieur  le  Comte." 

Monsieur  Julien,  after  playing  off  for  some  minutes  all  the  dif 
fident  airs  of  a  bashful  young  lady  dying  to  sing  and  protesting 
she  can  not,  placed  himself  at  the  upper  end  of  the  room,  near 
a  table  with  wax  lights,  pulled  the  roll  of  paper  from  his  breast 
pocket,  and  began  to  recite  his  "  Chagrins  Politiques"  in  a  most 
lugubrious  tone,  like  Mademoiselle  Duchesnois — avec  les  pleurs 
dans  la  voix.  The  saloon  was  crowded  with  distinguished 
guests.  On  the  left  hand  of  the  tender-hearted  poet  and  most 
doleful  reciter  of  his  own  sorrows — this  quondam  secretary  of 
Robespierre — was  Lady  Blessington,  in  her  well-knowny#z^ez«7, 
looking  most  intently,  and  with  apparent  anxious  solicitude,  full 
in  the  face  of  the  dolorous  reciter.  But  it  would  not  do  for  one 
listening  to  the  "  Chagrins"  to  look  too  curiously  into  the  eyes 
of  that  lady,  lest  he  might  perceive  any  twinkling  there  indica 
tive  of  internal  hilarity  of  a  communicative  kind.  On  the  other 
side  of  Monsieur  Julien,  but  somewhat  in  front  of  him,  sat  Count 
D'Orsay,  with  a  handkerchief  occasionally  lifted  to  his  eyes ; 
and  ever  and  anon  a  plaudit  or  an  exclamation  of  pain  was  ut 
tered  by  him  at  the  recital  of  some  particular  "  Chagrin."  At 
the  very  instant  when  the  accents  of  the  reciter  were  becoming 
most  exceedingly  lugubrious  and  ludicrous,  and  the  difficulty  of 
refraining  from  laughter  was  at  its  height,  D'Orsay  was  heard 
to  whisper  in  a  sotto  voce,  as  he  leaned  his  head  over  the  back 
of  the  chair  I  sat  on,  "  Pleurez  done!" 

Doctor  Q,uin,  who  was  present  at  this  scene,  one  of  the  rich 
est,  certainly,  I  ever  witnessed,  during  the  recital  contributed 
largely  to  its  effect.  Whenever  D'Orsay  would  seize  on  some  par 
ticular  passage,  and  exclaim,  "  Ah  que  c'est  beau  !"  then  would 
Q,uin's  "  magnifique  !"  "  superbe  !"  "  vraiement  beau  !"  be  in 
tonated  with  all  due  solemnity,  and  a  call  for  that  moving  passage 
over  again  would  be  preferred  and  kindly  complied  with,  so  that 
there  was  not  one  of  Monsieur  Julien's  "  Chagrins  Politiques" 
which  was  not  received  with  the  most  marked  attention  and  ap 
plause. 


!64  GORE  HOUSE. 

At  the  conclusion  of  each  "  Chagrin,"  poor  Julien's  eyes  were 
always  sure  to  be  bathed  with  tears,  and  as  much  so  at  the 
latest  recital  of  his  oft-repeated  griefs  as  at  the  earliest  delivery 
of  them. 

It  was  always  in  this  melting  mood,  at  the  conclusion  of  a  re 
cital,  he  was  again  conducted  by  the  hand  to  the  fauteuil  of  Lady 
Blessington  by  D'Orsay,  and  there  bending  low,  as  the  noble 
lady  of  the  mansion  graciously  smiled  on  him,  he  received  com 
pliments  and  consolations,  most  liberally  bestowed  on  his  "  Cha 
grins  Politiques." 

Of  one  of  those  displays  of  D'Orsay's  peculiar  power  in  draw 
ing  out  absurd,  eccentric,  or  outre  people  of  a  similar  kind,  one 
of  the  most  distinguished  writers  of  his  time  thus  writes  in 
April,  1838: 

"  Count  D'Orsay  may  well  speak  of  an  evening  being  a  happy 
one  to  whose  happiness  he  contributed  so  largely.  It  would  be 
absurd,  if  one  did  not  know  it  to  be  true,  to  hear  Dickens  tell,  as 
he  has  done  ever  since,  of  Count  D'Orsay's  power  of  drawing 
out  always  the  best  elements  of  the  society  around  him,  and  of 
miraculously  putting  out  the  worst.  Certainly  I  never  saw  it 
so  rnarvelously  exhibited  as  on  the  night  in  question.  I  shall 
think  of  him  hereafter  unceasingly,  with  the  two  guests  that  sat 
on  either  side  of  him  that  night.  But  it  has  been  impossible 
for  me  to  think  of  him  at  any  time  since  I  have  known  him  but 
with  the  utmost  admiration,  affection,  and  respect,  which  genius 
and  kindness  can  suggest  to  every  one." 

The  last  time  I  met  Monsieur  Julien  was  at  a  breakfast  given 
by  Colonel  Leicester  Stanhope,  on  which  occasion  many  remark 
able  persons  were  assembled.  Julien,  at  that  period,  had  aban 
doned  his  "  Chagrins  Politiques,"  and  adopted  a  new  plan  of 
attracting  attention.  He  exhibited  a  small  dial,  on  the  circum 
ference  of  which,  in  opposite  directions,  moral  and  evil  tenden 
cies  were  marked,  and  to  these  a  movable  index  pointed,  show 
ing  the  virtue  to  be  cultivated  when  any  particular  defect  in 
character  was  referred  to.  This  instrument  Monsieur  Julien 
called  his  "  Horlogc  Moral."  The  old  man  was  lapsing  fast  into 
second  childhood,  but  with  his  senility  a  large  dash  of  charla- 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.         165 

tanerie  was  very  obviously  combined.  On  the  occasion  I  allude 
to,  a  brother  of  Napoleon,  one  of  the  ex-kings  of  the  Bonaparte 
family,  was  present  for  a  short  time,  but  on  seeing  Monsieur 
Julien  he  immediately  departed.  Poor  L.E.L.,  who  was  one 
of  the  guests,  was  singled  out  by  Julien  for  special  instruction 
in  the  use  of  the  "  Horloge  Moral,"  and  she  allowed  herself  to 
be  victimized  with  most  exemplary  patience  and  good  humor, 
while  Monsieur  Julien  was  showing  off  the  latest  product  of 
his  ethical  and  inventive  faculties. 


CHAPTER  VIII. 

THE   BREAK-UP   AT   GORE   HOUSE. 

POOR  Lady  Blessington,  when  she  launched  into  the  enormous 
expenditure  of  her  magnificent  establishments,  first  in  Seamore 
Place,  next  in  Kensington  Gore,  had  little  idea  of  the  difficulties 
of  her  position  in  the  fashionable  world,  with  a  jointure  of 
j£2000  a  year,  to  meet  all  the  extensive  and  incessant  claims  on 
her  resources,  and  those  claims  on  them  also  of  at  least  seven 
or  eight  persons,  members  of  her  family,  who  were  mainly  de 
pendent  on  her.  Little  was  she  aware  of  the  nature  of  those 
literary  pursuits,  and  the  precariousness  of  their  remuneration, 
from  which  she  imagined  she  could  derive  secure  and  perma 
nent  emolument,  that  would  make  such  an  addition  to  her  ordi 
nary  income  as  would  enable  her  to  make  head  against  the  vast 
expenditure  of  her  mode  of  life — an  expenditure  which  the  most 
constant  anxiety  to  reduce  within  reasonable  limits,  by  an  econ 
omy  of  the  most  rigid  kind  in  small  household  matters,  was 
wholly  inadequate  to  accomplish.* 

A  lady  of  quality,  who  sits  down  in  fashionable  life  to  get  a 
livelihood  by  literature,  or  a  large  portion  of  the  means  neces- 

*  Lady  Blessington's  punctuality  and  strictness  in  examining  accounts  at  reg 
ular  periods,  inquiring  into  expenditure  by  servants,  orders  given  to  tradesmen, 
and  the  use  made  of  ordinary  articles  of  consumption,  were  remarkable.  She 
kept  a  book  of  dinners,  in  which  the  names  of  all  persons  at  each  entertainment 
were  set  down  ;  this  register  of  guests  served  a  double  purpose,  as  a  reference  for 
dates,  and  a  check  on  the  accounts  of  her  maftre  d'hotel. 


166         THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE. 

sary  to  sustain  her  in  that  position,  at  the  hands  of  publishers, 
had  better  build  any  other  description  of  castles  in  the  air,  or,  if 
she  must  dream  of  "  chateaus  en  Espagne,"  let  it  be  of  some 
order  of  architecture  less  visionary. 

Charles  Lamb,  the  inimitable  quaint  teller  of  solemn  truths, 
in  amusing  terms,  in  a  letter  to  Bernard  Barton,  the  (Quaker 
poet,  in  1823,  thus  speaks  of  "  literature  as  a  calling  to  get  a 
livelihood." 

"  What !  throw  yourself  on  the  world  without  any  rational  plan 
of  support  beyond  what  the  chance  of  employment  of  booksell 
ers  would  afford  you  ?  Throw  yourself  rather,  my  dear  sir,  from 
the  steep  Tarpeian  rock  slap-dash,  headlong  down  upon  iron 
spikes. 

"  I  have  known  many  authors  want  bread  :  some  repining, 
others  enjoying  the  sweet  security  of  a  spunging  house  ;  all 
agreeing  they  had  rather  have  been  tailors,  weavers,  what  not, 
rather  than  the  things  they  were  !  I  have  known  some  starved 
— some  go  mad — one  dear  friend  literally  dying  in  a  work-house. 

"  0  !  you  know  not,  may  you  never  know,  the  miseries  of  sub 
sisting  by  authorship  !  'Tis  a  pretty  appendage  to  situations  like 
yours  or  mine,  but  a  slavery  worse  than  all  slavery  to  be  a  book 
seller's  dependent ;  to  drudge  your  brains  for  pots  of  ale  and 
breasts  of  mutton  ;  to  change  your  free  thoughts  and  voluntary 
numbers  for  ungracious  task-work  !  The  booksellers  hate  us." 

If  Lamb  had  been  an  Irishman,  one  might  imagine  that  the 
"  h"  in  the  penultimate  word  was  an  interpolation  of  some  sar 
castic  copyist,  who  had  been  infelicitous  in  authorship,  and  that 
we  should  read  ate,  and  not  hate.  Emolument  from  literature 
must  have  been  looked  to  by  Lady  Blessington,  not  in  the  sense 
of  Lamb's  pretty  appendage  to  his  situation,  but  as  a  main  re 
source,  to  meet  an  expenditure  which  her  ordinary  income  could 
not  half  suffice  for. 

The  establishment  of  Gore  House,  and  the  incidental  expendi 
ture  of  its  noble  mistress,  could  not  have  been  less  than  jC40QO 
a  year.  Lady  Blcssington's  jointure  was  only  .£2000.  But 
then  it  must  be  borne  in  mind,  a  very  large  portion  of  that  ex 
penditure  was  incurred  for  aid  and  assistance  given  to  members 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.          167 

of  her  family,  and  that  she  frequently  stated  in  her  letters,  par 
ticularly  in  those  to  Mr.  Landor,  that  nothing  would  induce  her 
to  continue  her  literary  labors  hut  to  be  enabled  to  provide  for 
those  who  were  dependent  011  her. 

There  is  a  passage  in  a  letter  of  Sir  Walter  Scott,  in  reference 
to  the  costly  efforts  made  by  a  lady  of  literary  tastes  to  maintain 
a  position  in  literary  society,  or  rather  to  be  the  centre  of  a  lit 
erary  circle,  which  well  deserves  attention. 

In  his  diary  while  in  Italy,  Sir  Walter  makes  mention  of  "Lyd- 
ia  White."  "  Went  to  poor  Lydia  White's,  and  found  her  ex 
tended  on  a  couch,  frightfully  swelled,  unable  to  stir,  rouged, 
jesting,  and  dying.  She  has  a  good  heart,  and  is  really  a  clever 
creature  ;  but  unhappily,  or  rather  happily,  she  has  set  the 
whole  staff  of  her  life  in  keeping  literary  society  about  her.  The 
world  has  not  neglected  her  ;  it  is  not  always  so  bad  as  it  is 
called.  She  can  always  make  up  her  circle,  and  generally  has 
some  people  of  real  talent  and  distinction.  She  is  wealthy,  to 
be  sure,  and  gives  petits  diners,  but  not  in  a  style  to  carry  the 
point  a  force  d'argent.  In  her  case  the  world  is  good-natured, 
and  perhaps  it  is  more  frequently  so  than  is  generally  sup 
posed."* 

Of  the  false  position  of  distinguished  women  in  society,  it  has 
been  very  justly  observed,  in  a  notice  of  the  life  of  Madame  de 
Stael : 

"  The  aspect  of  ill-will  makes  women  tremble,  however  dis 
tinguished  they  may  be.  Courageous  in  misfortune,  they  are 
timid  against  enmity.  Thought  exalts  them,  yet  their  character 
remains  feeble  and  timid.  Most  of  the  women  in  whom  the 
possession  of  high  faculties  has  awakened  the  desire  of  fame, 
are  like  Erminia  in  her  warlike  accoutrements.  The  warriors 
see  the  casque,  the  lance,  the  shining  plume  ;  they  expect  to 
meet  force,  they  attack  with  violence,  and  with  the  first  stroke 
reach  the  heart." 

Troubles  and  afflictions  of  various  kinds  had  fallen  on  Lady 
i  Blessington,  in  quick  succession,  from  the  year  1843.  The  loss 
'  of  fortune  and  the  loss  of  friends,  trials  of  different  kinds,  pe- 

*  Lockhart's  Life  of  Sir  W,  Scott. 


168         THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE. 

cuniary  difficulties,  and  humiliations,  had  followed  each  other 
with  little  intermission  of  late  years.  In  the  latter  part  of  1845, 
the  effects  of  the  potato  blight  and  the  famine  in  Ireland  made 
themselves  felt  in  the  magnificent  salons  in  London  and  on  the 
Continent,  even  in  the  place  of  sojourn  of  the  Irish  aristocracy. 
The  sumptuous  apartments  of  Gore  House  were  made  intimately 
acquainted  with  them. 

By  the  robbery  of  plate,  jewelry,  and  other  valuables,  that 
was  committed  in  Lady  Blessington's  house  in  Seamore  Place,  a 
loss  of  upward  of  jClOOO  had  been  sustained.  By  the  failure 
of  Charles  Heath,  the  engraver,  she  incurred  a  loss  of  £700. 

The  difficulties  of  Count  D'Orsay  had  contributed  also  not  in 
a  small  degree  to  the  derangement  of  her  affairs  ;  and  those  dif 
ficulties  had  commenced  at  a  very  early  period  of  his  career  in 
London,  while  Lady  Blessington  was  residing  in  Seamore  Place, 
and  the  count  in  a  small  house  in  Curzon  Street,  nearly  opposite 
Lord  Chesterfield's.  The  count  was  arrested,  soon  after  his  ar 
rival  in  England,  for  a  debt  of  £300  to  his  boot-maker  in  Paris, 
Mr.  McHenry,  and  was  only  saved  from  imprisonment  by  the 
acceptance,  on  the  part  of  his  creditor,  of  bail  on  that  occasion.* 

In  October,  1846,  when  difficulties  were  pressing  heavily  on 
Lady  Blessington,  she  received  a  letter  (in  the  handwriting  of 
a  lady  who  signs  herself  M.  A.),  from  which  the  following  ex 
tract  appears  to  have  been  taken  : 

"  Well  may  it  be  said,  *  Sweet  are  the  uses  of  adversity,'  which, 
like  the  toad,  ugly  and  venomous,  bears  yet  a  precious  jewel  in 
its  head  !  !  and  its  chief  advantage  is,  that  it  enables  us  to 
judge  our  real  friends  from  false  ones.  Rowland  Hill  on  one 
occasion*  (preaching  to  a  large  congregation  on  men's  trust  in 
the  friendship  of  the  world)  observed,  that  his  own  acquaint- 

*  I  have  been  informed  by  Mr.  McHenry  that  he  had  allowed  that  debt  to  re 
main  unsettled  for  many  years,  and  had  consented  to  accept  the  security  finally 
offered  to  him  on  account  of  the  very  large  obligations  he  felt  under  to  the  count; 
for  the  mere  fact  of  its  being  known  in  Paris  that  Count  D'Orsay's  boots  were 
made  by  McHenry,  had  procured  for  him  the  custom  of  all  the  tip-top  exquisites 
of  Paris.  Similar  obligations  existed  in  London,  with  similar  relations  between 
the  debtors  and  the  indebted  ;  and  similar  results  there  between  the  count  and  his 
tradesmen,  but  sometimes  not  of  a  nature  so  agreeable,  frequently  took  place. 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.  169 

ances  would  probably  fill  the  church  ;  and  he  was  quite  certain 
that  his  friends,  at  the  most,  would  only  fill  the  pulpit.  Thus 
many  may  say,  and  those,  too,  who  may  have  expended  thou 
sands  in  entertaining  selfish  and  cold-hearted  men,  who  would 
not  render  them  a  real  service  if  they  wanted  one,  or  give  a 
sigh  to  their  memory  on  hearing  of  their  decease." 

Poor  Lady  Blessingtoii's  mind  was  ill  at  ease  when  she  set 
down  the  following  observations  in  her  commonplace  book : 

"  Great  trials  demand  great  courage,  and  all  our  energy  is 
called  up  to  enable  us  to  bear  them.  But  it  is  the  minor  cares 
of  life  that  wear  out  the  body,  because,  singly  and  in  detail,  they 
do  not  appear  sufficiently  important  to  engage  us  to  rally  our 

force  and  spirits  to  support  them Many  minds  that  have 

withstood  the  most  severe  trials  have  been  broken  down  by  a 
succession  of  ignoble  cares." 

How  much  bitter  experience  must  it  have  required  to  say  so 
much  in  so  few  words  ?  "  When  the  sun  shines  on  you,  you 
see  your  friends.  It  requires  sunshine  to  be  seen  by  them  to 
advantage.  While  it  lasts,  we  are  visible  to  them  ;  when  it  is 
gone,  and  our  horizon  is  overcast,  they  are  invisible  to  us." 

And  elsewhere,  another  "  Night  Thought"  is  to  a  similar  ef 
fect : 

"  Friends  are  the  thermometers  by  which  we  may  judge  the 
temperature  of  our  fortunes." 

"  There  is  no  knowledge  for  which  so  great  a  price  is  paid  as 
a  knowledge  of  the  world  ;  and  no  one  ever  became  an  adept  in 
it  except  at  the  expense  of  a  hardened  or  a  wounded  heart. 

"M.  B." 

Lady  Blessington  makes  reference  to  "  a  friend  of  long  stand 
ing,  and  deeply  interested  in  her  welfare,"  who  had  been  con 
sulted  by  her  at  the  period  of  her  most  serious  embarrassments, 
and  who  had  addressed  the  following  letter  to  her  ladyship,  with 
out  date  or  name,  but  probably  written  in  1848  : 

"  MY  DEAREST  FRIEND, — You  do  not  do  me  more  than  justice  in  the  belief 
that  I  most  fully  sympathize  with  all  your  troubles,  and  I  shall  be  only  too 
happy  if  my  advice  can  in  any  way  assist  you. 
Vol..  I.— H 


!7Q         THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE. 

"  First.  As  to  your  jointure,  nothing  in  law  is  so  indisputable  as  that  a 
widow's  jointure  takes  precedence  of  every  other  claim  on  an  estate.  The 
very  first  money  the  agent  receives  from  the  property  should  go  to  the  dis- 
char<TC  of  this  claim.  No  subsequent  mortgages,  annuities,  encumbrances, 
law-suits,  expenses  of  management,  &c.,  can  be  permitted  to  interfere  with 
Ihe  payment  of  jointure  ;  and  as,  whatever  the  distress  of  the  tenants  or  the 
embarrassments  of  the  estate,  it  is  clear  that  some  rents  must  have  come  in 
half-yearly,  so,  on  those  rents,  you  have  an  indisputable  right ;  and  I  think, 
on  consulting  your  lawyer,  he  will  put  you  in  a  way,  either  by  a  memorial  to 
Chancery  or  otherwise,  to  secure  in  future  the  regular  payment  of  this  life- 
charge.  Indeed,  on  property  charged  with  a  jointure,  although  the  rents  are 
not  paid  for  months  after  the  proper  dates,  the  jointure  must  be  paid  on  the 
regular  days  ;  and  if  not,  the  proprietor  would  become  liable  to  immediate  lit 
igation.  I  am  here  presuming  that  you  but  ask  for  the  jointure,  due  quarterly 
or  half-yearly,  and  not  in  advance,  which,  if  the  affairs  are  in  Chancery,  it 
would  be  illegal  to  grant. 

"  Secondly.  With  respect  to  the  diamonds,  would  it  be  possible  or  expedi 
ent  to  select  a  certain  portion  (say  half),  which  you  least  value  on  their  own 
account,  and,  if  a  jeweler  himself  falls  too  short  in  his  offer,  to  get  him  to  sell 
them  on  commission  1  You  must  remember  that  every  year,  by  paying  in 
terest  on  them,  you  are  losing  money  on  them,  so  that  in  a  few  years  you 
may  thus  lose  more  than  by  taking  at  once  less  than  their  true  value.  There 
are  diamond  merchants,  who,  I  believe,  give  more  than  jewelers  ;  and  if  you 
know  Anthony  Rothschild,  and  would  not  object  to  speak  to  him,  he  might 
help  you. 

"  Thirdly.  With  respect  to  an  illustrated  work,  I  like  your  plan  much  ;  and 
I  think  any  falling  off  is  to  be  attributed  to  a  relaxation  in  Heath  himself,  of 
proper  attention  to  the  interests  of  the  illustrations.  You  have  apparently 
some  idea  as  to  the  plan  and  conception.  I  fancy  that  illustrations  of  our 
most  popular  writers  might  be  a  novelty.  Illustrations  from  Shakspeare — not 
the  female  characters  only,  but  scenes  from  the  plays  themselves — by  good 
artists,  and  the  letter-press  bearing  upon  the  subject,  might  make  a  very  sale 
able  and  standard  work.  Again  (and  I  think  better),  in  this  day,  illustrations 
from  English  scenery,  ruins,  and  buildings  might  be  very  popular ;  in  fact, 
if  you  could  create  a  rational  interest  in  the  subject  in  the  plates,  your  sale 
and  profit  would  be  both  larger  and  more  permanent  on  the  first  demand,  and 
become  a  source  of  yearly  income. 

"  You  do  perfectly  right  not  to  diminish  your  income  by  loans  ;  — 
will  wait  your  time,  and  I  am  sure  that,  with  proper  legal  advice,  you  c;ui  in 
sure  the  regular  payments  of  your  jointure  in  future. 

"  I  think  I  have  thus  given  you  the  best  hints  I  can  on  the  different  points 
on  which  you  have  so  kindly  consulted  me.  I  know  well  how,  to  those  nr- 
customcd  to  punctual  payments,  and  with  a  horror  of  debt,  pecuniary  embar 
rassments  prey  upon  the  mind.  I3ut  I  think  they  may  be  borne,  not  only  with 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.          171 

ease,  but  with  some  degree  of  complacency,  when  connected  with  such  gener 
ous  devotions  and  affectionate  services  as  those  which  must  console  you  amid 
all  your  cares.  In  emptying  your  purse,  you  have  at  least  filled  your  heart 
with  consolations,  which  will  long  outlast  what  I  trust  will  be  but  the  troub 
les  of  a  season." 

In  April,  1849,  the  clamors  and  importunate  demands  of 
Lady  Blessington's  creditors  harassed  her,  and  made  it  evident 
that  an  inevitable  crash  was  coming.  She  had  given  bills  to 
her  bankers,  and  her  bond  likewise,  for  various  advances,  in 
anticipation  of  her  jointure,  to  an  amount  approaching  to  £1500. 
Immediately  after  the  sale,  the  bankers  acknowledged  having 
received  from  Mr.  Phillips,  the  auctioneer,  by  her  order,  the  sum 
of  £1500,  leaving  a  balance  only  in  their  hands  to  her  credit  of 
£1 1 .  She  had  the  necessity  of  renewing  bills  frequently  as  they 
became  due,  and  on  the  24th  of  April,  1849,  she  had  to  renew 

a  bill  of  hers  to  a  Mr. for  a  very  large  amount,  which 

would  fall  due  on  the  30th  of  the  following  month  of  May,  four 
days  only  before  "  the  great  debt  of  all  debts"  was  to  be  paid 
by  her.  » 

In  the  spring  of  1849,  the  long-menaced  break-up  of  the  es 
tablishment  of  Gore  House  took  place.  Numerous  creditors, 
bill-discounters,  money-lenders,  jewelers,  lace-venders,  tax-col 
lectors,  gas-company  agents,  all  persons  having  claims  to  urge, 
pressed  them  at  this  period  simultaneously.  An  execution  for 
a  debt  of  .£4000  was  at  length  put  in  by  a  house  largely  en 
gaged  in  the  silk,  lace,  India  shawl,  and  fancy  jewelry  busi 
ness.  Some  arrangements  were  made,  a  life  insurance  was 
effected,  but  it  became  necessary  to  determine  on  a  sale  of  the 
whole  of  the  effects  for  the  interest  of  all  the  creditors.*  Sev- 

*  For  about  two  years  previous  to  the  break-up  at  Gore  House,  Lady  Bless- 
ington  lived  in  the  constant  apprehension  of  executions  being  put  in,  and  unceas 
ing  precautions  in  the  admission  of  persons  had  to  be  taken  both  at  the  outer  gate 
and  hall-door  entrance.  For  a  considerable  period,  too,  Count  D'Orsay  had  been 
in  continual  danger  of  arrest,  and  was  obliged  to  confine  himself  to  the  house  and 
grounds,  except  on  Sundays,  and  in  the  dusk  of  the  evening  on  other  days.  All 
those  precautions  were,  however,  at  length  baffled  by  the  ingenuity  of  a  sheriff's 
officer,  who  effected  an  entrance  in  a  disguise,  the  ludicrousness  of  which  had 
some  of  the  characteristics  of  farce,  which  contrasted  strangely  and  painfully  with 
the  denouement  of  a  very  serious  drama. 

Lady  Blessington  was  no  sooner  informed,  by  a  confidential  servant,  of  the  fact 


172  THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE 

cral  of  the  friends  of  Lady  Blessington  urged  on  her  pecuniary 
assistance,  which  would  have  prevented  the  necessity  of  break 
ing  up  the  establishment.  But  she  declined  all  offers  of  this 
kind.  The  fact  was,  that  Lady  Blessington  was  sick  at  heart, 
worn  down  with  cares  and  anxieties,  wearied  out  with  difficul 
ties  and  embarrassments  daily  augmenting,  worried  with  inces 
sant  claims,  and  tired  to  death  with  demands  she  could  not 
meet.  For  years  previously,  if  the  truth  was  known,  she  was 
sick  at  the  heart's  core  of  the  splendid  misery  of  her  position— 
of  the  false  appearances  of  enjoyment  in  it  —  of  the  hollow 
smiles  by  which  it  was  surrounded — of  the  struggle  for  celeb 
rity  in  that  vortex  of  fashionable  life  and  luxury  in  which  she 
had  been  plunged,  whirling  round  and  round  in  a  species  of 
continuous  delirious  excitement,  sensible  of  the  madness  of  re 
maining  in  the  glare  and  turmoil  of  such  an  existence,  and  yet 
unable  to  stir  hand  or  foot  to  extricate  herself  from  its  obvious 
dangers. 

The  public  sale  of  the^recious  artices  of  a  boudoir,  the  bijou 
terie  and  beautiful  objects  of  art  of  the  salons  of  a  lady  of  fash 
ion,  awakens  many  reminiscences  identified  with  the  vicissitudes 
in  the  fortunes  of  former  owners,  and  the  fate  of  those  to  whom 
these  precious  things  belonged.  Lady  Blessington,  in  her  "  Idler 
in  France,"  alludes  to  the  influence  of  such  lugubrious  feelings, 
when  *lie  went  the  round  of  the  curiosity  shops  on  the  Q,uai 
D'Orsay,  and  made  a  purchase  of  an  amber  vase  of  rare  beauty, 
said  to  have  belonged  to  the  Empress  Josephine. 

"  When  I  see  the  beautiful  objects  collected  together  in  these 
shops,  I  often  think  of  their  probable  histories,  and  of  those  to 
whom  they  belonged.  Each  seems  to  identify  itself  with  the 
former  owner,  and  conjures  up  in  my  rnind  a  little  romance." 

of  the  entrance  of  a  sheriff's  officer,  and  an  execution  being  laid  on  her  property, 
than  she  immediately  desired  the  messenger  to  proceed  to  the  count's  room,  and 
tell  him  that  he  must  immediately  prepare  to  leave  England,  as  there  would  be  no 
safety  for  him,  once  the  fact  was  known  of  the  execution  having  been  levied.  The 
count  was  at  first  incredulous — bah  !  after  bah  !  followed  each  sentence  of  the  ac 
count  given  him  of  the  entrance  of  the  sheriff's  officer.  At.  length,  after  seeing 
Lady  Blessington,  the  necessity  for  his  immediate  departure  became  apparent. 
The  following  morning,  with  a  single  portmanteau,  attended  by  his  valet,  he  set 
out  for  Paris,  and  thus  ended  the  London  life  of  Count  D'Orsay. 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.          173 

"  Vases  of  exquisite  workmanship,  chased  gold  etuis,  enriched 
with  Oriental  agate  and  brilliants  that  had  once  probably  be 
longed  to  some  grandes  dames  of  the  court ;  pendules  of  gilded 
bronze,  one  with  a  motto  in  diamonds  on  the  back — '  Vous  me 
faites  oublier  les  heures' — a  nuptial  gift ;  a  flacon  of  most  del 
icate  workmanship,  and  other  articles  of  bijouterie,  bright  and 
beautiful  as  when  they  left  the  hands  of  the  jeweler.  The  gages 
d'amour  are  scattered  all  around  ;  but  the  givers  and  receivers, 
where  are  they  ?  Mouldering  in  the  grave  long  years  ago. 

"  Through  how  many  hands  may  these  objects  have  passed 
since  death  snatched  away  the  persons  for  whom  they  were 
originally  designed  !  And  here  they  are,  in  the  ignoble  custody 
of  some  avaricious  vendor,  who,  having  obtained  them  at  the 
sale  of  some  departed  amateur  for  less  than  their  first  cost,  now 

expects  to  extort  more  than  double  the  value  of  them  ! 

4  And  so  will  it  be  when  I  am  gone,'  as  Moore's  beautiful  song 
says  ;  the  rare  and  beautiful  bijouteries  which  I  have  collected 
with  such  pains,  and  looked  on  with  such  pleasure,  will  proba 
bly  be  scattered  abroad,  and  find  their  resting-places,  not  in  gild 
ed  salons,  but  in  the  dingy  coffers  of  the  wily  brocanteurs,  whose 
exorbitant  demands  will  preclude  their  finding  purchasers."* 

The  property  of  Lady  Blessington  offered  for  sale  was  thus 
eloquently  described  in  the  catalogue  composed  by  that  eminent 
author  of  auctioneering  advertisements,  Mr.  Phillips  : 

"  Costly  and  elegant  effects,  comprising  all  the  magnificent 
furniture,  rare  porcelain,  sculptures  in  marble,  bronzes,  and  an 
assemblage  of  objects  of  art  and  decoration,  a  casket  of  valuable 
jewelry  and  bijouterie,  services  of  rich  chased  silver  and  sil 
ver-gilt  plate,  a  superbly-fitted  silver  dressing-case,  collection 
of  ancient  and  modern  pictures,  including  many  portraits  of  dis 
tinguished  persons  ;  valuable  original  drawings  and  fine  engrav 
ings,  framed  and  in  the  portfolio  ;  the  extensive  and  interesting 
library  of  books,  comprising  upward  of  5000  volumes  ;  expen 
sive  table-services  of  china  and  rich  cut  glass,  and  an  infinity 
of  valuable  and  useful  effects,  the  property  of  the  Right  Honor 
able  the  Countess  of  Blessington,  retiring  to  the  Continent." 
*  The  Idler  in  France,  vol.  ii.,  p.  53. 


174         THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE. 

On  the  10th  of  May,  1849,  I  visited  Gore  House  for  the  last 
time.  The  auction  was  going  on.  There  was  a  large  assem 
blage  of  people  of  fashion.  Every  room  was  thronged ;  the  well- 
known  library-saloon,  in  which  the  conversaziones  took  place, 
was  crowded,  but  not  with  guests.  The  arm-chair  in  which  the 
lady  of  the  mansion  was  wont  to  sit  was  occupied  by  a  stout, 
coarse  gentleman  of  the  Jewish  persuasion,  busily  engaged  in 
examining  a  marble  hand  extended  on  a  book,  the  fingers  of 
which  were  modeled  from  a  cast  of  those  of  the  absent  mistress 
of  the  establishment. 

People,  as  they  passed  through  the  room,  poked  the  furniture, 
pulled  about  the  precious  objects  of  art  and  ornaments  of  vari 
ous  kinds  that  lay  on  the  table  ;  and  some  made  jests  and  ribald 
jokes  on  the  scene  they  witnessed. 

It  was  a  relief  to  leave  that  room :  I  went  into  another,  the 
dining-room,  where  I  had  frequently  enjoyed,  "in  goodly  com 
pany,"  the  elegant  hospitality  of  one  who  was  indeed  a  "  most 
kind  hostess."  I  saw  an  individual  among  the  crowd  of  gazers 
there  who  looked  thoughtful  and  even  sad.  I  remembered  his 
features.  I  had  dined  with  the  gentleman  more  than  once  in 
that  room.  He  was  a  humorist,  a  facetious  man — one  of  the 
editors  of  "  Punch ;"  but  he  had  a  heart,  with  all  his  customary 
drollery,  and  penchant  for  fun  and  raillery.  I  accosted  him,  and 
said,  "  "We  have  met  here  under  different  circumstances."  Some 
observations  were  made  by  the  gentleman,  which  showed  he 
felt  how  very  different  indeed  they  were.  I  took  my  leave  of 
Mr.  Albert  Smith,  thinking  better  of  the  class  of  facetious  per 
sons  who  are  expected  to  amuse  society  on  set  occasions,  as 
well  as  to  make  sport  for  the  public  at  fixed  periods,  than  ever 
I  did  before. 

In  another  apartment,  where  the  pictures  were  being  sold, 
portraits  by  Lawrence,  sketches  by  Landseer  and  Maclise,  in 
numerable  likenesses  of  Lady  Blessington  by  various  artists  ; 
several  of  the  Count  D'Orsay,  representing  him  driving,  riding 
out  on  horseback,  sporting,  and  at  work  in  his  studio  ;  his  own 
collection  of  portraits  of  all  the  frequenters  of  note  or  mark  in 
society  of  the  villa  Belvidere,  the  Palazzo  Negroni,  the  Hotel 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.  175 

Ney,  Seamore  Place,  and  Gore  House,  in  quick  succession,  were 
brought  to  the  hammer.  One  whom  I  had  known  in  most  of 
those  mansions,  my  old  friend  Dr.  Gluin,  I  met  in  this  apart 
ment. 

This  was  the  most  signal  ruin  of  an  establishment  of  a  person 
of  high  rank  I  ever  witnessed.  Nothing  of  value  was  saved 
from  the  wreck,  with  the  exception  of  the  portrait  of  Lady  Bless- 
ington  by  Chalon,  and  one  or  two  other  pictures.  Here  was  a 
total  smash,  a  crash  on  a  grand  scale  of  ruin,  a  compulsory  sale 
in  the  house  of  a  noble  lady,  a  sweeping  clearance  of  all  its 
treasures.  To  the  honor  of  Lady  Blessington  be  it  mentioned, 
she  saved  nothing,  with  the  few  exceptions  I  have  referred  to, 
from  the  wreck.  She  might  have  preserved  her  pictures,  ob 
jects  of  virtu,  bijouterie,  &c.,  of  considerable  value,  but  she  said 
all  she  possessed  should  go  to  her  creditors. 

There  have  been  very  exaggerated  accounts  of  the  produce 
of  the  sale  of  the  effects  and  furniture  of  Lady  Blessington  at 
Gore  House. 

I  am  able  to  state,  on  authority,  that  the  gross  amount  of  the 
sale  was  j£13,385,  and  the  net  sum  realized  was  £1 1,985  4s. 

When  it  is  considered  that  the  furniture  of  this  splendid  man 
sion  was  of  the  most  costly  description — that  the  effects  com 
prised  a  very  valuable  library,  consisting  of  several  thousand 
volumes,  bijouterie,  ormolu  candelabras  and  chandeliers,  porce 
lain  and  china  ornaments,  vases  of  exquisite  workmanship,  a 
number  of  pictures  by  first-rate  modern  artists,  the  amount  pro 
duced  by  the  sale  will  appear  by  no  means  large. 

The  portrait  of  Lady  Blessington,  by  Lawrence,  which  cost 
originally  only  £80, 1  saw  sold  for  £336.  It  was  purchased  for 
the  Marquis  of  Hertford.  The  portrait  of  Lord  Blessington,  by 
the  same  artist,  was  purchased  by  Mr.  Fuller  for  £68  5s. 

The  admirable  portrait  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  by  Count 
D'Orsay,  was  purchased  for  .£189,  for  the  Marquis  of  Hertford.* 

*  This  picture  was  D'Orsay's  chef-d'oeuvre.  The  duke,  I  was  informed  by  the 
count,  spoke  of  this  portrait  as  the  one  he  would  wish  to  be  remembered  by  in  fu 
ture  years.  He  used  frequently,  when  it  was  in  progress,  to  come  of  a  morning, 
in  full  dress,  to  Gore  House,  to  give  the  artist  a  sitting.  If  there  was  a  crease  or 
a  fold  in  any  part  of  the  dress  which  he  did  not  like,  he  would  insist  on  its  being 


176          THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE. 

Landseer's  celebrated  picture  of  a  spaniel  sold  for  .£150  10^. 

Landseer's  sketch  of  Miss  Power  was  sold  for  £57  10s. 

Lawrence's  pictures  of  Mrs.  Iiichbald  were  sold  for  £48  6s. 

The  following"  letter,  from  the  French  valet  of  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  giving  an  account  of  the  sale  at  Gore  House,  contains  some 
passages,  for  those  who  make  a  study  of  human  nature,  of  some 
interest. 

"  Gore  House,  Kensington,  May  8th,  1849. 

"  MY  LADY, — J'ai  recu  votre  lettrc  hicr,  et  je  me  serais  empresse  d'y  repon- 
dre  le  meme  jour,  mais  j'ai  ete  si  occupe  etant  le  premier  de  la  vente  qu'il  m'a 

ete  impossible  de  la  faire.     J'ai  vu  Mr.  P dans  1'apres  midi.     II  avait  un 

commis  ici  pour  prendre  le  prix  des  differents  objcts  vendu  le  7  May,  et  que 
vous  avez  sans  doute  rc^u  maintenant,  au  dire  des  gens  qui  ont  assiste  a  la 
vente.  Les  choses  se  sont  vendus  avantageusement,  et  je  dois  aj outer  que 
Mr.  Phillips  n'a  ricn  neglige  pour  rendre  la  vente  interessantc  a  toute  la  no 
blesse  d'ici. 

"  Lord  Hertford  a  achete  plusieurs  choses,  et  ce  n'est  que  dimanche  dernier 
fort  tard  dans  1'apres  midi,  qu'il  est  venu  voir  la  maison,  en  un  mot  je  pense 
sans  exageration,  que  le  nombre  de  personnes  qui  sorit  venus  a  la  maison  pen 
dant  les  5  jours  quelle  a  ete  en  vuer  que  plus  de  20,000  personnes  y  sont  en 
trees  une  tres  grande  quantite  de  catalogue  ont  ete  vendu,  et  nous  en  vendons 
encore  tout  les  jours,  car  vous  le  savez,  personnes  n'est  admis  sans  cela. 
Plusieurs  des  personnes  qui  frequantent  la  maison  sont  venus  les  deux  pre 
miers  jours. 

"  Je  vous  parle  de  cela  my  lady  parceque  j'ai  su  que  Mr.  Dick  avait  dit  a  un 
de  ses  amis  dans  le  salons  qu'il  y  avait  dans  la  maison  une  quantite  d'articles 
envoye  par  Mr.  Phillips,  ct  comme  j'ctais  certain  du  contraire,  je  me  suis  ad- 
dresse  a  Mr.  Guthric,  qui  etait  en  ce  moment  dans  le  salon,  ct  qui  lui  meme 
s'en  est  plaint  a  Mr.  Dick.  II  a  nio  le  fait,  mais  depuis  j'ai  acquit  la  certitude 
qu'il  avait  avance  cc  que  jc  viens  de  vous  dire.  Je  n'ai  pas  hesite  a  parler  tres 
haut  dans  le  salon,  persuade  que  je  desabuserait  la  foule  qui  s'y  trouvait. 

"  Le  Dr.  Quin  est  venu  plusieurs  fois  et  a  paru  prendre  le  plus  grand  in- 
teret  a  ce  qui  se  passait  ici.  M.  Thackeray  est  venu  aussi,  et  avait  les  larmes 
aux  yeux  en  partant.  C'est  pcut  ctrc  la  sculc  pcrsonnc  que  j'ai  vu  rcellement 
affcctc  en  votre  depart. 

"  J'ai  1'honneur  d'etre,  my  lady,  votre  tres  humble  servitcur, 

"  F.  A  VILLON." 

One  of  Lady  Blessington's  most  intimate  friends,  in  a  note  to 
her  ladyship,  dated  the  19th  of  May,  1849  (after  the  break-up  at 

altered.  To  use  D'Orsay's  words,  the  duke  \vus  so  hard  to  be  pleased,  it  was 
most  difficult  to  make  a  good  portrait  of  him.  When  he  consented  to  have  any 
thing  done  for  him,  he  would  have  it  done  in  the  best  way  possible. 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.          177 

Gore  House  and  departure  from  London),  writes,  "  I  have  not 
been  without  an  instinct  or  an  impression  for  some  time  that 
you  were  disturbed  by  those  preoccupying  anxieties  which  make 
the  presence  of  casual  visitors  irksome 

"  But,  now  that  the  change  is  once  made,  may  it  yield  you  all 
that  I  hope  it  will.  I  trust  now  that  what  there  is  of  pain  will 
remain  for  those  who  lose  you.  You  can  not  but  be  enlivened 
by  those  new  objects  and  scenes  of  your  new  place  of  abode, 
turbulent  as  it  is.  When  that  charm  is  done,  you  will  come 
back  to  us  again.  Meanwhile,  what  a  time  to  be  looking  for 
ward  to  !  One  becomes  absolutely  sick  wondering  what  is  to  be 
the  end  of  it  all.  I  could  fill  books  with  tales  which  one  new 
courier  after  another  brings  of  dismay,  and  misery,  and  of  break - 
ing-up  abroad." 

On  the  same  sad  subject  came  two  letters,  worthy  of  the  kind 
and  noble-hearted  person  who  wrote  them. 

From  Mrs.  T : 

"  Chesham  Place,  Friday,  April,  1849. 


MY  DEAREST 


"Is  it  true  that  you  are  going  to  Paris  1     If  so,  I  hope  I  shall  see  you  be 
fore  you  go,  for  it  would  grieve  me  very  much  not  to  bid  you  good-by  by  word 

of  mouth,  for  who  can  tell  when  we  may  meet  again  !     Dearest  ,  I 

hardly  like  to  say  it,  because  you  may  think  it  intrusive,  but  M told  me 

some  time  ago  that  you  were  in  difficulties,  owing  to  the  Irish  estates  not  pay 
ing,  and  told  me  to-day  that  awumor  had  reached  her  to  this  effect.  If  it  be 
true,  I  need  not  say  how  it  grieves  me.  You  have  so  often  come  forward  in 
our  poor  dearest  mother's  difficulties,  so  often  befriended  her,  and  us  through 
her,  that  it  goes  to  my  heart  to  think  you  are  harassed  as  she  was,  and  that  I 
am  so  poor  that  I  can  not  act  the  same  generous  part  you  did  by  her.  But, 

dearest  ,  I  am  at  this  moment  in  communication  with  Mr.  P , 

through  another  lawyer,  on  the  subject  of  the  money  left  me  by  my  mother. 
*  *  *  *  Dearest ,  do  not  be  offended  with  me,  but  in  case  I  re 
ceive  my  money  (£1600)  down,  do  make  use  of  me.  Remember  I  am  your 

own ,  and  believe  me  I  am  not  ungrateful,  but  love  you  dearly,  and  can 

not  bear  to  think  of  your  being  in  trouble.     I  am  offering  what,  alas  !  Mr. 

P may  create  a  difficulty  about,  but  I  trust  he  will  not,  and  that  you  will 

not  be  angry  or  mistrust  me,  and  consider  me  intrusive.  Possibly  there  is  no 
truth  in  the  rumor.  If  so,  forget  that  I  have  ever  seemed  intrusive,  and  only 

rest  assured  of  my  affection.     May  God  bless  you,  my  dearest . 

"  Ever  your  most  affectionate ,  MARGUERITE ." 

H  2 


178                       THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE. 
From  Mrs.  T : 

"  28th  AprU,  1849. 

"  I  was  very  glad  to  receive  your  affectionate  note,  my  dearest ,  and 

to  know  you  are  not  offended  with  mine  to  you.  I  wrote  to  you  from  my 
heart,  and  one  is  seldom  misinterpreted  at  those  times.  While  I  live,  dearest 

,  I  shall  have  a  heart  to  care  for  you,  and  feel  a  warm  interest  in  your 

happiness  ;  you  must  never  let  any  thing  create  a  doubt  of  this.  Will  you 
promise  me  this  1 

"  I  doubt  not  you  will  be  happier  in  Paris.  It  saddens  me,  however,  to  feel 
that,  perhaps,  we  shall  never  meet  again,  and  I  am  very,  very  sorry  not  to  have 
seen  you,  and  bid  you  at  least  good-by. 

"  I  can  not  say  how  much  I  have  thought  of  you,  and  felt  for  you,  dearest 

,  breaking  up  your  old  house.     I  know  how  poor  dearest  mamma  felt 

it,  when  such  was  her  lot ;  and  you  resemble  each  other  in  so  many  things  ! 
Every  one  says  you  have  acted  most  admirably  in  not  any  longer  continuing 
to  run  the  chance  of  not  receiving  your  annuity  duly,  but  selling  off,  so  as  to 
pay  all  you  owe  and  injure  no  one.  I  think  there  is  some  little  comfort  in 
feeling  that  good  acts  are  appreciated,  so  I  tell  you  this.  I  am  half  ashamed 

of  my  little  paltry  offer.     Dearest ,  I  am  so  glad  you  were  not  affronted 

with  me,  for  I  know  you  would  have  done  the  same  over  and  over  again  by 
me ;  but  then  you  always  confer  and  never  accept,  and  I  have  much  to  thank 
you  for,  as  well  as  my  sisters,  for  you  have  been  a  most  unselfish  friend  to  each 
and  all  of  us. 

******** 

"  I  should  so  like  to  know  what  is  become  of  poor  old  Comte  S .     I 

wrote  to  him  at  the  beginning  of  the  year,  but  have  never  had  an  answer.  If 
you  meet  him,  do  be  kind  to  him,  poor  old  man,  in  spite  of  his  deafness  and 
blindness,  which  make  him  neglected  by  others,  for  he  is  a  very  old  friend  of 
ours,  and  I  feel  an  interest  in  the  poor  old  mart,  knowing  so  many  good  and 
kind  acts  of  his. 

"Ever,  dearest,  yours  most  affectionately,  MARGUERITE." 

Lady  Blessington  and  the  two  Misses  Power  left  Gore  House 
on  the  14th  of  April,  1849,  for  Paris.  Count  D'Orsay  had  set 
out  for  Paris  a  fortnight  previously. 

For  nineteen  years  Lady  Blessington  had  maintained  a  posi 
tion  almost  queenlike  in  the  world  of  intellectual  distinction,  in 
fashionable  literary  society,  reigning  over  the  best  circles  of 
London  celebrities,  and  reckoning  among  her  admiring  friends 
and  the  frequenters  of  her  salons  the  most  eminent  men  of  En 
gland,  in  every  walk  of  literature,  art,  and  science,  in  statesman 
ship,  in  the  military  profession,  and  every  learned  pursuit.  For 


THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE.          179 

nineteen  years  she  had  maintained  establishments  in  London 
seldom  surpassed,  and  still  more  rarely  equaled  in  all  the  appli 
ances  to  a  state  of  society  brilliant  in  the  highest  degree  ;  but, 
alas !  it  must  be  acknowledged  at  the  same  time,  a  state  of 
splendid  misery,  for  a  great  portion  of  that  time,  to  the  mistress 
of  those  elegant  and  luxurious  establishments. 

And  now,  at  the  expiration  of  those  nineteen  years,  we  find 
her  forced  to  abandon  that  position,  to  relinquish  all  those  ele 
gancies  and  luxuries  by  which  she  had  been  so  long  surrounded, 
to  leave  her  magnificent  abode,  and  all  the  cherished  works  of 
art  and  precious  objects  in  it,  to  become  the  property  of  strangers, 
and,  in  fact,  to  make  a  departure  from  the  scene  of  all  her  for 
mer  triumphs,  which  it  is  in  vain  to  deny  was  a  flight  effected 
with  privacy,  most  painful  and  humiliating  to  this  poor  lady  to 
be  compelled  to  have  recourse  to. 

Lady  Blessington  began  her  literary  career  in  London  in  1822, 
with  a  small  work  in  one  vol.  8vo,  entitled  "  Sketches  of  Scenes 
in  the  Metropolis."  It  commences  with  an  account  of  the  ruin 
of  a  large  establishment  in  one  of  the  fashionable  squares  of  the 
metropolis,  and  of  an  auction  in  the  house  of  the  late  proprietor, 
a  person  of  quality,  the  sale  of  all  the  magnificent  furniture  and 
effects,  costly  ornaments,  precious  objects  of  art,  and  Valuable 
pictures. 

And,  strange  to  say,  as  if  there  was  in  the  mind  of  the  writer 
a  sort  of  prevision  of  future  events  of  a  similar  nature  occurring 
in  her  own  home  at  some  future  period,  she  informs  us  the  name 
of  the  ruined  proprietor  of  the  elegant  mansion  in  the  fashiona 
ble  square,  the  effects  of  which  were  under  sale,  was  B . 

The  authoress  says,  sauntering  through  the  gilded  salons,  crowd 
ed  with  fashionables,  brokers,  and  dealers  in  bijouterie,  exquis 
ites  of  insipid  countenances  and  starched  neckcloths,  elderly 
ladies  of  sour  aspects,  and  simpering  damsels,  all  at  intervals  in 
the  sale  occupied  with  comments,  jocose,  censorious,  sagacious, 
or  bitterly  sarcastic  on  the  misfortunes  and  extravagance  of  the 

poor  B 's,  she  heard  on  every  side  flippant  and  unfeeling 

observations  of  this  kind  :  "  Poor  Mrs.  B will  give  no  more 

balls  ;"  "  I  always  thought  how  it  would  end  ;"  "  The  B 's 


180         THE  BREAK-UP  AT  GORE  HOUSE. 

gave  devilish  good  dinners,  though  ;"  "  Capital  feeds,  indeed  ;" 
"  You  could  rely  on  a  perfect  supreme  dc  volatile"  (at  their  table) ; 
"  "Where  could  you  get  such  cotellcttes  dcs  pigeons  a  la  Cham 
pagne?"  "  Have  you  any  idea  of  what  has  become  of  B ?" 

"  In  the  Bench,  or  gone  to  France,  but  (yawning)  I  really  forget 
all  about  it ;"'  "  I  will  buy  his  Vandyke  picture  ;"  "  It  is  a  pity 
that  people  who  give  such  good  dinners  should  be  ruined  ;"  "A 
short  campaign  and  a  brisk  one  for  me  ;"  "  Believe  me,  there  is 
nothing  like  a  fresh  start,  and  no  man,  at  least  no  dinner-giving 
man,  should  last  more  than  two  seasons,  unless  he  would  change 
his  cook  every  month,  to  prevent  repetition  of  the  same  dishes, 
and  keep  a  regular  roaster  of  his  invitations,  with  a  mark  to  each 
name,  to  prevent  people  meeting  twice  at  his  house  the  same 
season."  The  elderly  ladies  were  all  haranguing  on  "  the  fol 
lies,  errors,  and  extravagances  of  Mrs.  B ."  "  Mr.  B , 

though  foolish  and  extravagant  in  some  things,  had  considera 
ble  taste  and  judgment  in  some  others  ;  for  instance,  his  books 
were  excellent,  well  chosen,  and  well  bought ;"  "  His  busts,  too, 
arc  very  fine  ;"  "  Give  me  B 's  pictures,  for  they  are  exquis 
ite  ;"  "  That  group,  so  exquisitely  colored  and  so  true  to  nature, 
could  only  be  produced  by  the  inimitable  pencil  of  a  Lawrence." 

"And  this  is  an  auction'.1"  says  the  authoress,  at  the  end  of 
the  first  sketch  in  her  first  work  ;  "  a  scene,"  she  continues, 
"that  has  been  so  often  the  resort  of  the  young,  the  grave,  and 
the  gay,  is  now  one  where  those  who  have  partaken  of  the  hos 
pitality  of  the  once  opulent  owner  of  the  mansion  now  come  to 
witness  his  downfall,  regardless  of  his  misfortune,  or  else  to 
exult  in  their  own  contrasted  prosperity."* 

This  sketch  would  indeed  have  answered  for  the  auction 
scene  at  Gore  House  in  1849,  seven-and-twenty  years  after  it 
had  been  penned  by  Lady  Blessington. 

Her  ladyship  thus  commenced  her  literary  career  in  1822 
with  a  description  of  the  ruin  of  an  extravagant  person  of  qual 
ity  in  one  of  our  fashionable  squares  in  London,  with  an  account 
of  the  break-up  of  his  establishment  and  the  auction  of  his  ef 
fects,  and  a  similar  career  terminates  in  the  utter  smash  and  the 
*•  Thf>  "  Magir  Lantern,"  &e.,  p.  1,  2,  3.  London  :  Longman,  1822. 


ARRIVAL  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON  IN  PARIS.  181 

sale  at  Gore  in  1849.  There  are  many  stranger  things  'twixt 
heaven  and  earth  than  are  dreamed  of  in  the  philosophy  of  our 
Horatios  of  fashionable  society. 


CHAPTER  XI. 

ARRIVAL  OF   LADY  BLESSINGTON  IN   PARIS   THE  MIDDLE   OF   APRIL, 

1849. HER    LAST    ILLNESS,  AND    DEATH   ON   THE   4TH    OF    JUNE 

FOLLOWING. NOTICE    OF    HER    DECEASE. 

LADY  BLESSINGTON  and  her  nieces  arrived  in  Paris  in  the 
middle  of  April,  1849.  She  had  a  suite  of  rooms  taken  for  her 
in  the  Hotel  de  la  Ville  d'Eveque,  and  there  she  remained  till 
the  3d  of  June.  The  jointure  of  £2000  a  year  was  now  the 
sole  dependence  of  her  ladyship,  and  the  small  residue  of  the 
produce  of  the  sale  of  her  effects  at  Gore  House,  after  paying 
the  many  large  claims  of  her  creditors  and  those  of  Count  D'Orsay. 

Soon  after  her  arrival  in  Paris,  she  took  a  moderate-sized  but 
handsome  appartement  in  the  Rue  du  Cerq,  close  to  the  Champs 
Elysees,  which  she  commenced  furnishing  with  much  taste  and 
elegance  ;  her  preparations  were  at  length  completed,  but  they 
were  destined  to  be  in  vain.  In  the  brief  interval  between  her 
arrival  in  Paris  and  her  taking  possession  of  her  new  apartment 
on  the  3d  of  June,  she  received  the  visits  of  many  of  her  former 
acquaintances,  and  seemed  in  better  spirits  than  she  had  been 
for  a  long  time  previously  to  her  departure  from  London. 

The  kindness  she  met  with  in  some  quarters,  and  especially 
at  the  hands  of  several  members  of  the  Grammont  family,  was 
at  once  agreeable  and  encouraging.  But  the  coolness  of  the 
accueil  of  other  persons  who  had  been  deeply  indebted  to  her 
hospitality  in  former  times  was  somewhat  more  chilling  than 
she  had  expected  to  find,  and  the  warm  feelings  of  her  gener 
ous  heart  and  noble  nature  revolted  at  it. 

Prince  Louis  Napoleon,  on  Lady  Blessington's  arrival  in  Paris, 
requested  her  to  come  to  the  palace  of  the  Elysee,  where  he  then 
resided  ;  she  went,  accompanied  by  Count  D'Orsay  and  the  two 
Misses  Power.  He  subsequently  invited  them  to  dinner.  He 


182  ARRIVAL  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON  IN  PARIS. 

had  been  one  of  the  most  constant  and  intimate  guests  at  Gore 
House,  both  before  and  after  his  imprisonment  at  Ham.  He 
used  to  dine  there  whenever  there  were  any  distinguished  per 
sons,  whether  English  or  foreign.  He  was  on  the  most  familiar 
and  intimate  terms  with  Lady  Blessington  and  her  circle,  join 
ing  them  in  parties  to  Greenwich,  Richmond,  &c.  ;  and  all  his 
friends,  as  well  as  himself,  were  made  welcome,  and  on  his  es 
cape  from  Ham  he  came  to  Gore  House  straight  on  his  arrival 
in  London,  giving  Lady  Blessington  the  first  intimation  of  his 
escape. 

On  that  occasion,  at  Count  D'Orsay's  advice,  he  wrote  at  once 
to  Monsieur  St.  Aulaire,  then  embassador  in  London,  stating  that 
he  had  no  intention  of  creating  any  ferment  or  disturbance,  but 
meant  to  reside  quietly  as  a  private  individual  in  London.  Lady 
Blessington  proffered  some  pecuniary  assistance  to  the  prince, 
and  both  Lady  Blessington  and  Count  D'Orsay  manifested  their 
earnest  desire  and  willingness  to  aid  him  in  any  way  they  could 
be  made  serviceable  to  him.  While  he  needed  their  services, 
and  influence,  and  hospitality,  the  prince  expressed  himself  al 
ways  most  grateful  for  them.  But  with  the  need,  the  sense 
of  the  obligations  ceased. 

There  is  no  doubt  on  the  minds  of  some  of  the  friends  even 
of  Prince  Louis  Napoleon  but  that  the  active  and  unceasing 
exertions  and  influence  of  Count  D'Orsay  and  his  friends  and 
connections  in  Paris  went  far  to  aid  his  election  as  President. 
D'Orsay  rallied  to  his  party  Emile  de  Girardin,  one  of  the  ablest 
and  boldest  journalists  of  the  day,  but  who  subsequently  became 
a  formidable  opponent.  The  chief  cause  of  his  ingratitude  to 
Count  D'Orsay  was  believed  to  have  been  his  apprehension  of 
being  supposed  to  be  advised  or  influenced  by  any  one  who  had 
been  formerly  intimate  with  him  ;  a  fear  which  has  induced 
him  to  surround  his  person  with  men  of  mean  intellect  and  of 
servile  dispositions,  pliant,  indigent,  and  unscrupulous  follow 
ers,  of  no  station  in  society,  or  character  for  independence  or 
integrity  of  principle. 

Lady  Blessington  began  to  form  plans  for  a  new  literary  ca 
reer  :  she  engaged  her  thoughts  in  projecting  future  works,  in 


LAST  ILLNESS  AND  DEATH.  183 

making  new  arrangements  for  the  reception  of  the  beau  monde. 
She  employed  a  great  deal  of  her  time  daily  in  superintending 
the  furnishing  of  her  new  apartment ;  in  the  way  of  embellish 
ments,  or  luxuries,  or  comforts,  some  new  wants  had  to  be  sup 
plied  every  day.  The  old  story  of  unsatisfied  desires  ever  seeking 
fulfillment,  and  never  contented  with  the  fruition  of  present  en 
joyments,  applies  to  every  phase  in  life,  even  the  most  checkered : 

"  Like  our  shadows, 
Our  wishes  lengthen  as  our  sun  declines." 

The  sun  of  Lady  Blessington's  life  was  now  declining  fast ; 
and  even  when  it  had  reached  the  verge  of  the  horizon,  its  going 
down  was  unnoticed  by  those  around  her,  and  the  suddenness 
of  its  disappearance  occasioned  no  little  surprise,  and  gave  rise 
to  many  vague  surmises  and  idle  rumors. 

There  were  some  striking  coincidences  in  the  circumstances 
attending  the  deaths  of  Lord  and  Lady  Blessington. 

In  May,  1829,  Lord  Blessington  returned  to  Paris  from  En 
gland,  purposing  to  fix  his  abode  there  for  some  months  at  least ; 
and  on  the  23d  of  the  same  month,  a  few  weeks  after  his  arrival, 
without  previous  warning  or  indisposition,  "  appearing  to  be  in 
good  health,"  he  was  suddenly  attacked  by  apoplexy,  while 
riding  on  the  Champs  d'Elysee,  and  died  the  same  day,  in  a 
state  of  insensibility. 

Twenty  years  from  that  date,  Lady  Blessington  arrived  in 
Paris  from  London,  purposing  to  fix  her  abode  there ;  and  on 
the  4th  of  June,  having  made  all  suitable  preparations  for  a  long 
residence  in  Paris,  and  after  a  sojourn  there  of  about  five  weeks, 
without  previous  warning  or  indisposition,  she  was  suddenly  at 
tacked  by  an  apoplectic  malady,  complicated  with  disease  of  the 
heart,  and  was  carried  off  suddenly,  at  her  abode  adjoining  the 
Champs  d'Elysee,being  quite  unconscious,  during  the  brief  period 
of  the  struggle,  of  the  fatal  issue  that  was  about  to  take  place. 

A  few  weeks  before  that  event,  a  British  peeress,  whom  I 
have  had  the  pleasure  of  meeting  at  Gore  House  in  former  days, 
wrote  to  Lady  Blessington  at  Paris,  reminding  her  of  a  promise 
that  had  been  extorted  from  her,  and  entreating  of  her  to  re 
member  her  religious  duties,  and  to  attend  to  them. 


184 


LAST  ILLNESS  AND  DEATH. 


Poor  Lady  Blessington  always  received  any  communication 
made  to  her  on  this  subject  with  respect,  and  even  with  a  feel 
ing  of  gratitude  for  the  advice  given  by  her.  She  acted  on  it 
solely  on  one  or  two  occasions,  in  Paris,  when  she  accompanied 
the  Duchess  de  Grammont  to  the  Church  of  the  Madeleine  on 
the  Sabbath. 

But  no  serious  idea  of  abandoning  the  mode  of  life  she  led 
had  been  entertained  by  her.  Yet  she  had  a  great  fear  of  death, 
and  sometimes  spoke  of  a  vague  determination,  whenever  she 
should  be  released  from  the  chief  cares  of  her  career — the  toils 
and  anxieties  of  authorship,  the  turmoil  of  her  life  in  salons  and 
intellectual  circles — that  she  would  turn  to  religion,  and  make 
amends  for  her  long  neglect  of  its  duties  by  an  old  age  of  retire 
ment  from  society,  and  the  withdrawal  of  her  thoughts  and  af 
fections  from  the  vanities  of  the  world.  But  the  proposed  time 
for  that  change  was  a  future  which  was  not  to  come  ;  and  the 
present  time  was  ever  to  her  a  period  in  which  all  thoughts  of 
death  were  to  be  precluded,  and  every  amusing  and  exciting 
topic  was  to  be  entertained  which  was  capable  of  absorbing  at 
tention  for  the  passing  hour. 

An  extract  of  a  letter  from  Miss  Power  to  the  author,  on  the 
death  of  Lady  Blessington,  will  give  a  very  accurate  and  de 
tailed  account  of  her  last  illness  and  death  : 

"  Rue  de  la  Ville  1'Eveque,  No.  38,  February  18th,  1850. 

"  On  arriving  in  Paris,  my  aunt  adopted  a  mode  of  life  differing  considera 
bly  from  the  sedentary  one  she  had  for  such  a  length  of  time  pursued ;  she 
rose  earlier,  took  much  exercise,  and,  in  consequence,  lived  somewhat  higher 
than  was  her  wont,  for  she  was  habitually  a  small  cater.  This  appeared  to 
agree  with  her  general  health,  for  she  looked  well,  and  was  cheerful ;  but  she 
began  to  suffer  occasionally  (especially  in  the  morning)  from  oppression  and 
difficulty  of  breathing.  These  symptoms,  slight  at  first,  she  carefully  concealed 
from  Qur  knowledge,  having  always  a  great  objection  to  medical  treatment ;  but 
as  they  increased  in  force  and  frequency,  she  was  obliged  to  reveal  them,  and 
medicaj  aid  was  immediately  called  in.  Dr.  Leon  Simon  pronounced  there  was 
'  cnergie  du  coeur,'  but  that  the  symptoms  in  question  proceeded  probably  from 
bronchitis — a  disease  then  very  prevalent  in  Paris;  that  they  were  nervous, 
and  entailed  no  danger ;  and  as,  after  the  remedies  he  prescribed,  the  attacks 
diminished  perceptibly  in  violence,  and  that  her  general  health  seemed  little 
affected  by  them,  he  entertained  no  serious  alarm. 


LAST  ILLNESS  AND  DEATH.  185 

"  On  the  3d  of  June  she  removed  from  the  hotel  we  had  occupied  during  the 
seven  weeks  we  had  passed  in  Paris,  and  entered  the  residence  which  my  poor 
aunt  had  devoted  so  much  pains  and  attention  to  the  selecting  and  furnishing 
of,  and  that  same  day  dined  enfamille  with  the  Due  and  Duchesse  de  Quiche 
(Count  D'Orsay's  nephew).  On  that  occasion,  my  aunt  seemed  particularly 
well  in  health  and  spirits,  and  it  being  a  lovely  night,  and  our  residences  lying 
contiguous,  we  walked  home  by  moonlight.  As  usual,  I  aided  my  aunt  to 
undress — she  never  allowed  her  maid  to  sit  up  for  her — and  left  her  a  little 
after  midnight.  She  passed,  it  seems,  some  most  restless  hours  (she  was  ha 
bitually  a  bad  sleeper),  and  early  in  the  morning,  feeling  the  commencement 
of  one  of  the  attacks,  she  called  for  assistance,  and  Dr.  Simon  was  immediately 
sent  for,  the  symptoms  manifesting  themselves  with  considerable  violence; 
and,  in  the  mean  time,  the  remedies  he  had  ordered — sitting  upright,  rubbing 
the  chest  and  upper  stomach  with  ether,  administering  ether  internally,  &c. — 
were  all  resorted  to  without  effect.  The  difficulty  of  breathing  became  so  ex 
cessive,  that  the  whole  of  the  chest  heaved  upward  at  each/inspiration,  which 
was  inhaled  with  a  loud  whooping  noise,  the  face  was  swolten  and  purple,  the 
eyeballs  distended,  and  utterance  almost  wholly  denied,  while  the  extremities 
gradually  became  cold  and  livid,  in  spite  of  every  attempt  to  restore  the  vital 
heat.  By  degrees,  the  violence  of  the  symptoms  abated ;  she  uttered  a  few 
words  :  the  first,  '  The  violence  is  over,  I  can  breathe  freer ;'  and  soon  after, 
'  Qu'elle  heure  est-ill'  Thus  encouraged,  we  deemed  the  danger  past ;  but, 
alas  !  how  bitterly  were  we  deceived  ;  she  gradually  sunk  from  that  moment ; 
and  when  Dr.  Simon,  who  had  been  delayed  by  another  patient,  arrived,  he 
saw  that  hope  was  gone  ;  and,  indeed,  she  expired  so  easily,  so  tranquilly, 
that  it  was  impossible  to  perceive  the  moment  when  her  spirit  passed  away. 

"  The  day  but  one  following,  the  autopsy  took  place,  when  it  was  discov 
ered  that  enlargement  of  the  heart  to  nearly  double  the  natural  size,  which  en 
largement  must  have  been  progressing  for  a  period  of  at  least  twenty-five 
years,  was  the  cause  of  dissolution,  though  incipient  disease  of  the  stomach 
and  liver  had  complicated  the  symptoms.  The  body  was  then  embalmed  by 
Dr.  Ganal,  and  deposited  in  the  vaults  of  the  Madeleine,  while  the  monument 
was  being  constructed,  a  task  to  which  Count  D'Orsay  devoted  the  whole  of 
his  time  and  attention.  He  bids  me  to  say  that  he  is  about  to  have  a  da 
guerreotype  taken  of  the  place,  a  drawing  of  which  we  shall  have  forwarded 
to  you.* 

"  The  mausoleum  is  a  pyramid  of  granite,  standing  on  a  square  platform,  on 
a  level  with  the  surrounding  ground,  but  divided  from  it  by  a  deep  fosse,  whose 
sloping  sides  are  covered  with  green  turf  and  Irish  ivy,  transplanted  from  the 
•garden  of  the  house  where  she  was  born.  It  stands  on  a  hill-side,  just  above 
the  village  cemetery,  and  overlooks  a  view  of  exquisite  beauty  and  immense 
extent,  taking  in  the  Seine,  winding  through  the  fertile  valley  and  the  forest 

*  From  that  daguerreotype,  the  sketch  given  in  this  work  has  been  exactly 
copied  by  an  artist  very  highly  gifted. 


186  MONUMENT  TO  HER  MEMORY. 

of  St.  Germain ;  plains,  villages,  and  far-distant  hills  ;  and  at  the  back  and 
side  it  is  sheltered  by  chestnut-trees  of  large  size  and  great  age  :  a  more  pic 
turesque  spot  it  is  difficult  to  imagine.  M.  A.  POWER." 

From  Mrs.  Homer's  account  of  this  monument  the  following 
passages  are  taken : 

"  Solid,  simple,  and  severe,  it  combines  every  requisite  in  har 
mony  with  its  solemn  destination ;  no  meretricious  ornaments, 
no  false  sentiment,  mar  the  purity  of  its  design.  The  genius 
which  devised  it  has  succeeded  in  cheating  the  tomb  of  its  hor 
rors,  without  depriving  it  of  its  imposing  gravity.  The  simple 
portal  is  surmounted  by  a  plain  massive  cross  of  stone,  and  a 
door,  secured  by  an  open-work  of  bronze,  leads  into  a  sepulchral 
chamber,  the  key  of  which  has  been  confided  to  me.  All  within 
breathes  the  holy  calm  of  eternal  repose  ;  no  gloom,  no  mould 
ering  damp,  nothing  to  recall  the  dreadful  images  of  decay.  An 
atmosphere  of  peace  appears  to  pervade  the  place,  and  I  could 
almost  fancy  that  a  voice  from  the  tomb  whispered,  in  the  words 
of  Dante's  Beatrice, 

"  '  Io  sono  in  pace  !' 

"  The  light  of  the  sun,  streaming  through  a  glazed  aperture 
above  the  door,  fell  like  a  ray  of  heavenly  hope  upon  the  sym 
bol  of  man's  redemption — a  beautiful  copy,  in  bronze,  of  Michael 
Angelo's  crucified  Savior — which  is  affixed  to  the  wall  facing 
the  entrance.  A  simple  stone  sarcophagus  is  placed  on  either 
side  of  the  chamber,  each  one  surmounted  by  two  white  marble 
tablets,  incrusted  in  the  sloping  walls." 

The  monument  was  visited  by  me  a  few  weeks  before  the 
death  of  Count  D'Orsay.  It  stands  on  a  platform  or  mound, 
carefully  trenched,  adjoining  the  church-yard,  and  approached 
from  it.  The  sepulchral  chamber  is  on  a  level  with  the  plat 
form  from  which  you  enter.  Within  are  two  stone  sarcophagi 
(side  by  side),  and  in  one  of  these  is  deposited  the  coffin  con 
taining  the  remains  of  Lady  Blessington,  covered  with  a  large 
block  of  granite.  On  the  wall  above  (on  the  left  hand  side  of 
the  vault)  are  the  two  inscriptions  ;  one  by  Barry  Cornwall,  the 
other — that  which  has  led  to  a  correspondence. 

The  first  inscription  above  referred  to  is  in  the  following  terms : 


INSCRIPTIONS  TO  HER  MEMORY.  187 

" IN   MEMORY  OP 

MARGUERITE,  COUNTESS  OF  BLESSINGTON, 

WHO   DIED  ON  THE  4rTH    OF    JUNE,   1849. 


In  her  lifetime 

She  was  loved  and  admired 

For  her  many  graceful  writings, 

Her  gentle  manners,  her  kind  and  generous  heart. 

Men,  famous  for  art  and  science 

In  distant  lands, 

Sought  her  friendship : 

And  the  historians  and  scholars,  the  poets,  and  wits,  and  painters, 

Of  her  own  country, 

Found  an  unfailing  welcome 

In    her    ever    hospitable    home. 

She  gave  cheerfully  to  all  who  were  in  need, 

Help,  and  sympathy,  and  useful  counsel ; 

And  she  died 
Lamented  by  her  friends. 

They  who  loved  her  best  in  life,  and  now  lament  her  most, 

Have  raised  this  tributary  marble 

Over  the  place  of  her  rest." 

BARRY  CORNWALL. 

The  other  inscription,  altered  from  one  written  by  Walter 
Savage  Landor,  is  as  follows  : 

"  Hie  est  dcpositum 
Quod  superest  mulieris 
Quondam  pulcherrimse 
Benefacta  celare  potuit 
Ingenium  suum  non  potuit 
Peregrinos  quoslibet 
Grata  hospitalitate  convocabat 
Lutetiae  Parisiorum 
Ad  meliorem  vitam  abiit 
Die  iv  mensis  Junii 

MDCCCXLIX." 

The  original  inscription,  by  W.  S.  Landor,  is  certainly,  in  all 
respects  but  one,  preferable  to  the  substituted ;  and  that  one  is 
the  absence  of  all  reference  to  a  future  state  : 

"  Infra  sepvltvm  est  id  omne  qvod  sepeliri  potest 

mvlieris  qvondam  pvlcherrimse. 
Ingenivm  swm  svmmo  stvdio  colavit, 


lgg  INSCRIPTIONS  TO  HER  MEMORY. 

aliorvm  pari  adjvvit. 

Benefacta  sva  cclare  novit ;  ingenivm  non  ita. 

Erga  omnis  erat  larga  bonitate 

peregrinis  eleganter  hospitalis. 

Venit  Lvtetiam  Parisiorvm  April!  mense  : 

qvarto  Jvnii  die  svpremvm  svvm  obiit." 

The  following  English  version  of  the  above  inscription  has 
been  given  by  Mr.  Landor : 

TO   THE   MEMORY   OF   MARGUERITE,  COUNTESS   OF   BLESSINGTON. 

"  Underneath  is  buried  all  that  could  be  buried  of  a  woman 
once  most  beautiful.  She  cultivated  her  genius  with  the  great 
est  zeal,  and  fostered  it  in  others  with  equal  assiduity.  The 
benefits  she  conferred  she  could  conceal — her  talents  not.  Ele 
gant  in  her  hospitality  to  strangers,  charitable  to  all,  she  retired 
to  Paris  in  April,  and  there  she  breathed  her  last,  on  the  4th  of 
June,  1849."* 

There  is  an  epitaph  011  the  tomb  of  a  daughter-in-law  of  Dry- 
den,  who  died  in  1712,  and  was  buried  in  Kiel  Church,  in  Staf 
fordshire — (see  "  Monurnenta  Anglic.,"  p.  154) — where  some  ex 
pressions  occur  somewhat  similar  to  those  which  Mr.  Landor  has 
taken  exception  to  in  the  substituted  inscription.  It  runs  thus  : 

"  Hacc  quo  erat,  forma  et  genere  illustrior, 
eo  se  humiliorem  prsebuit  maritum  honorando 

familiam  praecipue  Liberos  fovendo 
pauperes  sublevando,  peregrines  omnes  decore 

*  On  the  subject  of  this  inscription,  Mr.  Landor  addressed  a  long  letter  to  the 
"Athenaeum,"  complaining  of  the  alterations  which  had  been  made  in  the  Latin 
lines  he  had  written,  from  which  I  will  only  extract  the  concluding  paragraphs. 

"  It  may  be  thought  superfluous  to  remark  that  epitaphs  have  certain  qualities 
in  common  ;  for  instance,  all  arc  encomiastic.  The  main  difference  and  the  main 
difficulty  lie  in  the  expression,  since  nearly  all  people  are  placed  on  the  same  level 
in  the  epitaph  as  in  the  grave.  Hence,  out  of  eleven  or  twelve  thousand  Latin 
ones,  ancient  and  modern,  I  find  scarcely  threescore  in  which  there  is  originality 
or  elegance.  Pure  latinity  is  not  uncommon,  and  is  perhaps  as  little  uncommon 
in  the  modern  as  in  the  ancient,  where  certain  forms  exclude  it,  to  make  room  for 
what  appeared  more  venerable.  Nothing  is  now  left  to  be  done  but  to  bring  for 
ward  in  due  order  and  just  proportions  the  better  peculiarities  of  character  com 
posing  the  features  of  the  dead,  and  modulating  the  tones  of  grief. 

"WALTER  SAVAGE  LANDOR." 


HER  AGE.  189 

proximosque  ct  vecinos  humaniter  excipiendo, 
ut  neminem  reperisses  decidentum  : 
non  prius  devinctum,  mira  hujus 
et  honesta  raorum  suavitate." 

The  age  of  Lady  Blessingtoii  has  been  a  subject  of  some  con 
troversy.  She  was  bom,  we  are  informed  by  her  niece  (on  the 
authority,  I  have  reason  to  believe,  of  her  aunt)  the  1st  of  Sep 
tember,  1790.  She  died  the  4th  of  June,  1849  ;  hence  it  would 
appear  her  age  was  fifty-eight  years  and  nine  months.  From 
inquiries  that  were  made  by  me  in  Clonmel,  and  examination 
of  the  marriage  registry,  it  was  ascertained  that  Lady  Blessing- 
ton  had  been  married  the  7th  of  March,  1804.  She  must  then 
have  been  about  fifteen  years  of  age  ;  but,  according  to  the  first 
account,  she  would  have  been  only  fourteen  years  of  age  the 
1st  of  September,  1804.* 

Lady  Blessington  stated  to  me  that  she  was  married  in  1804, 
and  was  then  under  fifteen  years  of  age.  Had  she  been  born 
the  1st  of  September,  1789,  she  would  have  been  fifteen  years 
of  age  on  the  1st  of  September,  1804. 

The  probability  then  is  that  she  was  born  in  1789,  and  not  in 
1790,  and  was  therefore  sixty  years  of  age,  less  by  two  months, 
when  she  died. 

Ellen,  Lady  Canterbury  (her  youngest  sister),  in  the  account 
of  her  death  in  "  the  Annual  Register,"  is  stated  to  have  died 
in  her  fifty-fourth  year,  the  16th  November,  1845.  From  this 
it  would  appear  that  she  was  born  in  the  latter  part  of  1791. 

Mary  Anne,  Countess  St,  Marsault,  the  youngest  of  all  the 
children  of  B&mund  Power,  I  am  informed  was  fifteen  years 
younger  than  Lady  Blessington.  If  this  be  the  case,  and  Lady 
Blessington  was  born  in  1789,  the  Countess  of  Marsault  must 
have  been  born  in  1804,  and  would  be  now  fifty  years  of  age. 

But  if  I  might  hazard  an  opinion  on  so  delicate  a  subject  as 

*  A  person  intimately  acquainted  with  Lady  Blessington's  family  is  the  editor 
of  a  Clonmel  paper,  in  which  the  following  paragraph  appeared  : 

"  THE  LATE  LADY  BLESSINGTON. — A  Dublin  solicitor  has  just  been  in  Clon 
mel,  for  the  purpose  of  exactly  ascertaining  the  age  of  the  late  Countess  of  Bless 
ington,  in  reference  to  an  insurance  claim.  She  was  not  so  old  at  her  death  as 
the  newspapers  said,  having  been  married  in  1804,  at  the  early  age  of  fifteen  years, 
so  that  she  was  only  sixty  years  old  at  her  decease." 


IQQ  COUNT  D'ORSAY'S  GRIEF. 

a  lady's  age,  I  would  venture  to  set  down  the  date  of  that  event 
as  1801,  and  not  1804. 

In  a  letter  from  Miss  Power,  dated  12th  of  July,  1849,  then 
residing  at  Charnbourcy  Pres  de  St.  Germain-cn-Laye  (the  seat 
of  the  Duchcsse  de  Grammont,  the  sister  of  Count  D'Orsay),  the 
loss  of  Lady  Blessirigton  is  thus  referred  to  : 

"  Count  D'Orsay  would  himself  have  answered  your  letter,  but 
had  not  the  nerve  or  the  heart  to  do  so  ;  although  the  subject 
occupies  his  mind  night  and  day,  he  can  not  speak  of  it  but  to 
those  who  have  been  his  fellow-sufferers  ;  it  is  like  an  image 
ever  floating  before  his  eyes,  which  he  has  got,  as  it  were,  used 
to  look  upon,  but  which  he  can  not  yet  bear  to  grasp  and  feel 
that  it  is  real :  much  as  she  was  to  us,  we  can  not  but  feel  that 
to  him  she  was  all ;  the  centre  of  his  existence,  round  which 
his  recollections,  thoughts,  hopes,  and  plans  turned  ;  and  just  at 
the  moment  she  was  about  to  commence  a  new  mode  of  life,  one 
that  promised  a  rest  from  the  occupation  and  anxieties  that  had 
for  some  years  fallen  to  her  share,  death  deprived  us  of  her." 

On  D'Orsay's  first  visit  to  the  tomb  where  the  remains  of 
Lady  Blessington  had  been  deposited,  his  anguish  is  said  to  have 
been  most  poignant  and  heart-rending.  He  seemed  almost  phren- 
sied  at  times,  bewildered  and  stupefied  ;  and  then,  as  if  awaken 
ed  suddenly  to  a  full  consciousness  of  the  great  calamity  that 
had  taken  place,  he  would  lament  the  loss  he  had  sustained  as 
if  it  had  occurred  only  the  day  before.  His  state  of  mind  might 
be  described  in  the  words  of  an  Arabic  poem,  translated  by  Sir 
William  Jones : 

"  Torn  from  loved  friends,  in  Death's  cold  caverns  laid, 
I  sought  their  haunts  with  shrieks  that  pierced  the  air ; 
'  Where  are  they  hid  1  oh  !  where  V  I  wildly  said  ; 
And  Fate,  with  sullen  echo,  mocked,  '  0  where?  "* 

A  notice  of  the  death  of  Lady  Blessington  appeared  in  "  the 
Athenaeum"  of  June  9th,  1849,  written  by  one  who  appears  to 
have  known  Lady  Blessington  well,  and  to  have  appreciated 
fully  her  many  excellent  qualities. 

"  Only  a  fortnight  since,  the  journals  of  London  were  laying 

*  Translation  from  ;m  Aniliir  j>oct,  by  the  late  Sir  William  Jones. 


NOTICE  OF  HER  DEATH.  191 

open  to  public  gaze  the  Belies  of  a  house  which  for  some  dozen 
years  past  has  been  an  object  of  curiosity,  and  a  centre  of  pleas 
urable  recollection  to  many  persons  distinguished  in  literature 
and  art,  abroad  and  at  home. 

"  The  Countess  of  Blessington,  it  appears,  lived  just  long 
enough  to  see  her  gates  closed  and  her  treasures  dispersed  ;  for 
on  Tuesday  arrived  from  Paris  tidings  that,  within  a  few  hours 
after  establishing  herself  in  her  new  mansion  there,  she  died 
suddenly  of  apoplexy  on  Monday  last. 

"  Few  departures  have  been  attended  with  more  regrets  than 
will  be  that  of  this  brilliant  and  beautiful  woman  in  the  circle 
to  which  her  influences  have  been  restricted.  It  is  unnecessary 
to  sum  up  the  writings  published  by  Lady  Blessington  within 
the  last  eighteen  years,  commencing  by  her  '  Conversations  with 
Lord  Byron,'  and  including  her  lively  and  natural  French  and 
Italian  journals,  half  a  score  of  novels,  the  most  powerful  among 
which  is  '  The  Victims  of  Society,'  detached  thoughts  and  fugi 
tive  verses,  since  these  are  too  recent  to  call  for  enumeration. 

"  As  all  who  knew  the  writer  will  bear  us  out  in  saying,  they 
faintly  represent  her  gifts  and  graces,  her  command  over  anec 
dote,  her  vivacity  of  fancy,  her  cordiality  of  manner,  and  her 
kindness  of  heart.  They  were  hastily  and  slightly  thrown  off 
by  one  with  whom  authorship  was  a  pursuit  assumed  rather 
than  instinctive — in  the  intervals  snatched  from  a  life  of  unself 
ish  good  offices  and  lively  social  intercourse. 

"  From  each  one  of  the  vast  variety  of  men  of  all  classes,  all 
creeds,  all  manner  of  acquirements,  and  all  color  of  political 
opinions,  whom  Lady  Blessington  delighted  to  draw  around  her, 
she  had  skill  to  gather  the  characteristic  trait,  the  favorite  ob 
ject  of  interest,  with  a  fineness  of  appreciation  to  be  exceeded 
only  by  the  retentiveness  of  her  memory. 

"  Thus,  until  a  long  series  of  family  bereavements  and  the 
pressure  of  uncertain  health  had  somewhat  dimmed  the  gayety 
of  her  spirits,  her  conversation  had  a  variety  of  reminiscence,  a 
felicity  of  a  propos,  and  a  fascination,  of  which  her  writings  of 
fer  faint  traces.  In  one  respect,  moreover,  her  talk  did  not  re 
semble  the  talk  of  other  beaux  csprits.  With  the  eagerness  of  a 


192  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

/  child,  she  could  amuse  and  persuade  J^erself  as  entirely  as  she 
amused  and  persuaded  others.  Among  all  the  brilliant  wom 
en  we  have  known,  she  was  one  of  the  most  earnest — earnest 
in  defense  of  the  absent,  in  protection  of  the  unpopular,  in  ad 
vocacy  of  the  unknown ;  and  many  are  those  who  can  tell  how 
generously  and  actively  Lady  Blessington  availed  herself  of  her 
widely-extended  connections  throughout  the  world  to  further 
their  success  or  to  promote  their  pleasures.  In  her  own  family 
she  was  warmly  beloved  as  an  indefatigable  friend,  and  eagerly 
resorted  to  as  an  unwearied  counselor.  How  largely  she  was 
trusted  by  some  of  the  most  distinguished  men  of  her  time,  her 
extensive  and  varied  correspondence  will  show,  should  it  ever 
be  given  to  the  world.  Into  the  causes  which  limited  her  gifts 
and  graces  within  a  narrower  sphere  than  they  might  otherwise 
have  commanded,  we  have  no  commission  to  enter."* 


CHAPTER  X. 

NOTICE     OF    THE     CAREER,    LITERARY    TASTES,    AND    TALENTS    OF 
LADY     BLESSINGTOX. 

WITH  respect  to  the  influence  exercised  in  society  over  per 
sons  of  exalted  intellect  by  fascinating  manners,  personal  at 
tractions,  liveliness  of  fancy,  quickness  of  apprehension,  close 
ness  of  observation,  and  smartness  of  repartee,  among  the  liter 
ary  ladies  of  England  of  the  present  or  past  century,  it  would 
be  difficult  to  find  one  with  whom  Lady  Blessington  can  be  fit 
ly  compared.  The  power  of  pleasing,  of  engaging  attention,  of 
winning,  not  only  admiration,  but  regard  and  friendship,  which 
the  latter  lady  possessed,  and  long  and  successfully  exerted  over 
men  of  genius  and  talents  of  the  highest  order,  and  of  every  pro 
fession  and  pursuit,  has  been  seldom  surpassed  in  any  country. 

It  would  not  be  difficult  to  point  out  ladies  of  celebrity  as  bay 
bints  of  far  superior  abilities  as  authoresses,  of  imaginations 
with  richer  stores  of  wit  and  poetry,  of  more  erudition,  and  bet 
ter  cultivated  talents  ;  but  we  shall  find  none  who,  for  an  equal 
length  of  time,  maintained  an  influence  of  fascination  in  litera- 

*  The  Athenaeum,  June  Oth,  1849. 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  193 

ry  and  fashionable  society  over  the  highest  intellects,  and  exer 
cised  dominion  over  the  feelings  as  well  as  over  the  faculties 
of  those  who  frequented  her  abode. 

Grimm,  in  his  "  Memoires  Litteraires  et  Anecdotaires,"  makes 
mention  of  a  Madam  Geoffrin,  the  friend  of  D'Alembcrt,  Mar- 
montel,  Condorcet,  Morellet,  and  many  other  illustrious  littc- 
raires,  whose  character  and  mental  qualities,  agrements,  esprit, 
finesse  de  I'art,  bonte  de  c&ur,  et  habitudes  dc  bienfaisancc,  would 
appear,  from  his  account  of  them,  very  remarkably  en  rapport 
with  the  qualities  of  mind  arid  natural  dispositions  of  Lady  Bless- 
ington.  Those  of  Lady  Mary  Wortley,  Lady  Craven,  Lady 
Holland,  and  Lady  Morgan,  present  no  such  traits  of  resem 
blance  fitly  to  be  compared  with  the  peculiar  graces,  attrac 
tions,  and  kindly  feelings  of  Lady  Blessington. 

D'Alembert  has  consecrated  some  lines  of  homage  to  his 
friend  and  benefactress,  in  a  letter  published  in  the  "  Memoires 
Litteraires  et  Historiques."  "We  learn  from  it  that  Madam 
GeofTrin's  salons  were  open  nightly  to  the  artists,  literati,  minis 
ters  of  state,  grandees,  and  courtiers.  Authors  were  not  assured 
of  the  success  of  their  new  works  till  they  had  been  to  Madam 
Geoffrin 's  soirees,  and  a  smile  and  an  encouraging  expression  of 
the  sovereign  of  the  salons  set  their  hearts  at  ease  on  the  sub 
ject  of  their  productions. 

Helvetius,  when  he  published  his  book  "Dc  1'Esprit,"  felt  no 
confidence  in  its  reception  by  the  public  till  he  had  consulted 
Madam  :  ce  thermometre  de  1'opinion. 

"  Madam  Geoffrin  n'avoit  guerre  des  eimemis  que  parmi  les 
femmes."  She  had  all  the  tastes,  we  are  told,  of  a  sensitive, 
gentle  creature,  of  a  noble  and  a  loving  nature.  "  La  passion 
de  donner  qui  fut  le  bcsoin  de  sa  vie,  etoit  nee  avec  elle  et  la 
tourmenta  pour  ainsi  dire  dc  ses  premieres  annees."  She  had 
aptly  taken  for  her  device  the  words  "  Donner  et  pardonner." 

There  was  nothing  brilliant  in  her  talents,  but  she  was  an  ex 
cellent  sayer  of  good  things  in  short  sentences.  She  gave  din 
ners,  and  there  was  a  great  eclat  in  her  entertainments  :  "Mais 
il  faut  autre  choscs  quc  dcs  diners  pour  occupcr  dans  le  monde  la 
place  gne  crtte  femmc  estimable  s'y  etait  faitc." 

VOL.  I.— I 


194  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

Monsieur  Malesherbes  was  happily  characterized  by  her, 
';  rhommc  du  mondc  le  plus  simplement  simple."  She  said,  among 
the  weaknesses  of  people,  their  vanity  must  be  endured,  and 
their  talk,  even  when  there  was  nothing  in.  it.  "  I  accommodate 
myself,"  she  said,  "  tolerably  well  to  eternal  talkers,  provided 
they  are  chatterers,  and  that  only,  who  have  no  idea  of  any 
thing  but  talking,  and  do  not  expect  to  be  replied  to.  My  friend 
Fontenellc,  who  bears  with  them  as  1  do,  says  they  give  his 
lungs  repose.  I  derive  another  advantage  from  them  ;  their  in 
significant  gabble  is  to  me  like  the  tolling  of  bells,  which  does 
not  hinder  one  from  thinking,  but  often  rather  invites  thought." 

"When  her  friends  spoke  of  the  enmity  to  her  of  some  persons, 
and  made  some  allusion  to  her  many  generous  acts,  she  turned 
to  D'Alembert  and  said,  "  "When  you  find  people  have  feelings 
of  hatred  to  rnc,  take  good  care  not  to  say  any  thing  to  them  of 
the  little  good  you  know  of  me.  They  will  hate  me  for  it  all 
the  more.  It  will  be  a  torment  to  them,  and  I  have  no  wish  to 
pain  them."  When  this  amiable  and  lovely  woman  died, D'Alem 
bert  uttered  words  very  similar  to  those  which  D'Orsay  ad 
dressed  to  rue  on  the  lirst  occasion  of  my  meeting  him  after  the 
recent  loss  of  that  friend,  who  had  so  many  qualities  of  a  kin 
dred  nature  to  those  of  Madame  Geoifrin.  "  Her  friendship," 
said  D'Alembert,  "  was  my  consolation  in  all  troubles.  The 
treasure  which  was  so  necessary  and  precious  to  me  has  been 
taken  away,  and  in  the  midst  of  people  in  society,  and  the  fill 
ing  up  of  the  void  of  life  in  its  circles,  I  can  speak  to  none  who 
will  understand  rue.  I  spent  my  evenings  with  the  dear  friend 
I  have  lost,  and  my  mornings  also.  I  no  longer  have  that  friend  ; 
for  me  there  is  no  longer  evening  or  morning."* 

It  has  been  truly  said  of  Lady  Blessington's  uniform  kindness 
and  generosity  under  all  circumstances, 

"  In  the  midst  of  her  triumphs,  the  goodness  of  her  heart,  and 
the  fine  qualities  that  had  ever  distinguished  her,  remained 
wholly  unimpaired.  Generous  to  lavishness,  charitable,  com 
passionate,  delicately  considerate  of  the  feelings  of  others,  sin 
cere,  forgiving,  devoted  to  those  she  loved,  and  with  a  warmth 

*   Memoires  Lit.  et  Anecdotes,  vol.  ii.,  p.  64. 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  195 

of  heart  rarely  equaled,  her  change  of  fortune  was  immediately 
felt  by  every  member  of  her  family.  The  parents  whose  cruel 
obstinacy  had  involved  her  in  so  much  misery,  but  whose  ruined 
circumstances  now  placed  them  in  need  of  her  aid,  were  com 
fortably  supported  by  her  up  to  the  period  of  their  deaths.  Her 
brothers  and  sisters  (the  youngest  of  whom,  Marianne,  she 
adopted  and  educated),  and  even  the  more  distant  of  her  rela 
tives,  all  profited  by  her  benefits,  assistance,  and  interest." 

A  lady  of  very  distinguished  literary  talents,  and  highly  es 
teemed  by  Lady  Blessington,  well  acquainted,  too,  with  many 
of  her  benevolent  acts,  Mrs.  A.  M.  Hall,»thus  wrote  of  her  very 
recently,  in  answer  to  some  inquiries  of  the  author : 

"  Firfield,  Addlestone,  Surrey,  June  7,  1854. 

"  I  never  had  occasion  to  appeal  to  Lady  Blessington  for  aid  for  any  kind 
or  charitable  purpose  that  she  did  not  at  once,  with  a  grace  peculiarly  her 
own,  come  forward  cheerfully,  and  '  help'  to  the  extent  of  her  power. 

"  I  remember  one  particular  instance  of  a  poor  man  who  desired  a  particu 
lar  situation  which  I  thought  Lady  Blessington  could  obtain.  All  the  cir 
cumstances  I  have  forgotten  ;  but  the  chief  point  was,  that  he  entreated  em 
ployment,  and  had  some  right  to  it  in  one  department.  Lady  Blessington 
made  the  request  I  entreated,  and  was  refused.  Her  ladyship  sent  me  the  re 
fusal  to  read,  and,  of  course,  I  gave  up  all  idea  of  the  matter,  and  only  felt  sor 
ry  that  I  had  troubled  her ;  but  she  remembered  it,  and  in  a  month  accom 
plished  the  poor  man's  object ;  her  letter  was  indeed  a  sunbeam  in  his  poor 
home,  and  he,  in  time,  became  prosperous  and  happy." 

In  a  subsequent  communication  of  the  3d  of  August,  Mrs. 
Hall  adds : 

"  When  Lady  Blessington  left  London,  she  did  not  forget  the  necessities 
of  several  of  her  poor  dependents,  who  received  regular  aid  from  her  after  her 
arrival,  and  while  she  resided  in  Paris.  She  found  time,  despite  her  literary 
labors,  her  anxieties,  and  the  claims  which  she  permitted  society  to  make  upon 
her  time,  not  only  to  do  acts  of  kindness  now  and  then  for  those  in  whom  she 
felt  an  interest,  but  to  give  what  seemed  perpetual  thought  to  their  well-do 
ing  ;  and  she  never  missed  an  opportunity  of  doing  a  gracious  act  or  saying 
a  gracious  word.  My  acquaintance  with  Lady  Blessington  was  merely  a  lit 
erary  one,  commencing  when,  at  my  husband's  suggestion,  she  published  much 
about  Lord  Byron  in  the  pages  of  the  '  New  Monthly  Magazine,'  which  at 
that  time  he  edited.  That  acquaintance  continuing  till  her  death,  I  wrote 
regularly  for  her  Annuals,  and  she  contributed  to  those  under  our  care. 

"  I  have  no  means  of  knowing  whether  what  the  world  said  of  this  beautiful 
woman  was  true  or  false,  but  1  am  sure  God  intended  her  to  be  good,  and 


196  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

there  was  a  deep-seated  good  intent  in  whatever  she  did  that  came  under  my 
observation. 

"  Her  sympathies  were  quick  and  cordial,  and  independent  of  worldliness  ; 
her  taste  in  art  and  literature  womanly  and  refined — I  say  '  womanly,'  because 
she  had  a  perfectly  feminine  appreciation  of  whatever  was  delicate  and  beau 
tiful.  There  was  great  satisfaction  in  writing  for  her  whatever  she  required  ; 
labors  became  pleasures,  from  the  importance  she  attached  to  every  little  at 
tention  paid  to  requests  which,  as  an  editor,  she  had  a  right  to  command. 
Her  manners  were  singularly  simple  and  graceful ;  it  was  to  me  an  intense 
delight  to  look  at  beauty,  which,  though  I  never  saw  it  in  its  full  bloom,  was 
charming  in  its  autumn  time  ;  and  the  Irish  accent,  and  soft,  sweet  Irish 
laugh,  used  to  make  my  heart  beat  with  the  pleasures  of  memory.  I  always 
left  her  with  an  intense  sense  of  enjoyment,  and  a  perfect  disbelief  in  every 
thing  I  ever  heard  to  her  discredit.  Her  conversation  was  not  witty  nor  wise, 
but  it  was  in  good  tune  and  good  taste,  mingled  with  a  great  deal  of  humor, 
which  escaped  every  thing  bordering  on  vulgarity.  It  was  surprising  how  a 
tale  of  distress  or  a  touching  anecdote  would  at  once  suffuse  her  clear,  intel 
ligent  eyes  with  tears,  and  her  beautiful  mouth  would  break  into  smiles  and 
dimples  at  even  the  echo  of  wit  or  jest. 

"  The  influence  she  exercised  over  her  circle  was  unbounded,  and  it  became 
a  pleasure  of  the  most  exquisite  kind  to  give  her  pleasure. 

"  I  think  it  ought  to  be  remembered  to  her  honor  that,  with  all  her  foreign 
associations  and  habits,  she  never  wrote  a  line  that  might  not  be  placed  on 
the  book-shelves  of  any  English  lady. 

"Yours  sincerely,  A.  M.  HALL." 

From  Mr.  Hall  I  have  received  the  following  account  of  an 
act  of  kindness  and  beneficence  of  Lady  Blessington  which  fell 
under  his  own  observation  : 

"  I  once  chanced  to  encounter  a  young  man  of  good  education  and  some 
literary  taste,  who,  with  his  wife  and  two  children,  was  in  a  state  of  absolute 
want.  After  some  thought  as  to  what  had  best  be  done  for  him,  I  suggested 
a  situation  in  the  Post-office  as  a  letter  carrier.  He  seized  at  the  idea,  but, 
being  better  aware  than  I  was  of  the  difficulty  of  obtaining  it,  expressed  him 
self  to  that  eflect. 

"  I  wrote  to  Lady  BlcssLngton,  telling  her  the  young  man's  story,  and  ask 
ing  if  she  could  get  him  the  appointment.  Next  day  I  received  a  letter  from 
her,  inclosing  one  from  the  secretary,  regretting  his  utter  inability  to  meet  her 
wishes  ;  such  appointments,  although  so  comparatively  insignificant,  resting 
with  the  Postmaster  General.  I  handed  this  communication  to  the  young 
man,  who  was  by  no  means  disappointed,  for  he  had  not  hoped  for  success. 
What  was  my  surprise  and  his  delight,  however,  when,  the  very  next  day, 
Ihrre  came  to  me  another  letter  from  Lady  Blessington,  inclosing  one  from 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  197 

the  Postmaster  General,  conferring  the  appointment  on  the  young  man.    This 
appointment  I  believe  he  still  holds — at  least,  he  did  so  a  year  or  two  ago. 

"  S.  C.  HALL." 

Lady  Blessington  was  quick  to  discover  talent  or  worth  of  any 
kind  in  others,  sure  to  appreciate  merit,  and  generous  in  her 
sentiments,  and  ardent  in  the  expression  of  approbation  in  re 
gard  to  it. 

She  was  by  no  means  indiscriminate  in  her  praise  ;  one  of 
the  class  whose  judgment  is  to  be  distrusted  on  account  of  the 
lavish  bestowal  of  encomium  :  "  Defiez  vous  de  ces  gens  qui 
sont  a  tout  le  monde  et  ne  sont  a  personne."  Nor,  on  the  other 
hand,  did  she  belong  to  that  most  despicable  of  all  cliques,  the 
sneering,  depreciatory,  would-be  aristocratic  clique  of  small  in 
tellectual  celebrities  in  literature  arid  art,  whose  members  are 
niggards  in  acknowledgment  of  all  worth  and  merit  which  do 
not  emanate  from  their  own  little  circle  of  pretentious  cleverness. 

There  is  a  sentiment  of  envy  discoverable  in  the  recognition 
of  intellectual  advantages  in  such  circles  not  confined  to  low  or 
vulgar  people,  a  sense  of  something  burdensome  in  the  claims 
to  commendation  of  other  people,  which  seems  to  oppress  the 
organs  pulmonary,  sanguineous,  and  cerebral  of  that  class  of 
small  celebrities,  be  they  artists,  authors,  savans,  doctors,  or  di 
vines,  or  patronesses  in  literary  society,  when  merit  that  has  any 
affinity  with  the  worth  supposed  or  self-estimated  of  the  parties 
present  is  brought  to  the  notice  of  that  clique.  There  is  a  "je 
ne  sais  quoi"  of  an  indisposition  to  let  it  be  perceived  that  they 
admit  the  existence  of  any  ability  superior  to  their  own.  The 
most  vulgar-minded,  the  least  highly-gifted,  are  sure  to  be  most 
on  their  guard  not  to  be  betrayed  into  any  terms  of  commenda 
tion  of  an  enthusiastic  kind  that  might  lead  people  to  suppose 
they  acknowledged  any  excellence  in  others  they  were  incapa 
ble  of  manifesting  in  their  own  works,  words,  or  writings. 

A  member  of  this  clique,  of  a  waspish  mind  and  an  aspish 
tongue,  is  never  more  entertaining  in  it  than  when  he  is  most 
sneering  in  his  remarks,  and  churlish  of  praise  in  dealing  with 
the  intellectual  advantages  of  other  people.  He  is  unaccustom 
ed  to  think  favorably  or  to  speak  well  of  his  absent  literary 


198  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

neighbors.  He  is  afraid  of  affording  them  a  good  word  ;  he 
would  be  ashamed  to  be  thought  easily  pleased  with  his  fellow- 
men — having  any  bookish  tastes ;  he  can  not  hear  them  eulogized 
without  feeling  that  his  own  merits  are  overlooked.  Or,  if  he 
does  chime  in  with  any  current  praise,  the  curt  commendation 
and  scanty  applause  are  coupled  with  a  sneer,  a  scoff,  some  ribald 
jest,  or  ridiculing  look  or  gesture,  intended  to  depreciate  or  to 
give  a  ludicrous  aspect  to  a  subject  that  might  turn  to  the  ad 
vantage  of  another  if  it  had  been  gravely  treated.  In  fine,  it  is 
not  in  his  nature  to  be  just  or  generous  to  any  man  behind  his 
back  who  has  any  kindred  tastes  or  talents  with  his  own. 

The  subject  of  this  memoir  was  not  of  the  clique  in  question, 
or  of  their  way  of  dealing  with  literary  competitors  in  the  ac 
knowledgment  of  worth  or  merit  in  other  people  of  literary  pur 
suits. 

Lady  Blessington  was  naturally  lively,  good-humored,  mirth 
ful,  full  of  drollery,  and  easily  amused.  Her  perception  of  the 
ridiculous  was  quick  and  keen.  If  there  was  any  thing  absurd 
in  a  subject  or  object  presented  to  her,  she  was  sure  to  seize  on 
it,  and  to  represent  the  idea  to  others  in  the  most  ridiculous  as 
pect  possible.  This  turn  of  mind  was  not  exhibited  in  society 
alone  ;  in  private  it  was  equally  manifested.  One  of  the  class 
proverbially  given  to  judge  severely  of  those  they  come  most 
closely  into  contact  with,  after  a  service  of  fifteen  years,  thus 
speaks  of  the  temper  and  disposition  of  her  former  mistress, 
Lady  Blessington ; 

"  Every  one  knew  the  cleverness  of  this  literary  lady  ;  but  few, 
very  few  knew  all  the  kindness  of  heart  of  the  generous,  affec 
tionate  woman,  but  those  who  were  indebted  to  her  goodness, 
and  those  who  were  constantly  about  her  as  I  was — who  saw 
her  acts,  and  knew  her  thoughts  and  feelings. 

"  My  lady's  spirits  were  naturally  good  ;  before  she  was  over 
powered  with  difficulties  and  troubles  on  account  of  them,  she 
was  very  cheerful,  droll,  and  particularly  amusing.  This  was 
natural  to  her.  Her  general  health  was  usually  good  ;  she  often 
told  rne  she  had  never  been  confined  to  her  bed  one  whole  day 
in  her  life  ;  and  her  spirits  would  have  continued  good,  but  that 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  199 

she  got  so  overwhelmed  with  care  and  expenses  of  all  kinds. 
The  calls  on  her  for  assistance  were  from  all  quarters.  Some 
depended  wholly  on  her  (and  had  a  regular  pension  quarterly 
paid) — her  father  and  mother  for  many  years  before  they  died  ; 
the  education  of  children  of  friends  fell  upon  her.  Now  one 
had  to  be  fitted  out  for  India — now  another  to  be  provided  for. 
Constant  assistance  had  to  be  given  to  others  (to  the  family,  in 
particular,  of  one  poor  lady,  now  dead  some  years,  whom  she 
loved  very  dearly).  She  did  a  great  many  charities  ;  for  in 
stance,  she  gave  very  largely  to  poor  literary  people — poor  art 
ists  ;  something  yearly  to  old  servants  ;  she  contributed  thus 
also  to  Miss  Lander's  mother — in  fact,  to  several,  too  many  to 
mention  ;  and  from  some  whom  she  served,  to  add  to  all  her 
other  miseries,  she  met  with  shameful  ingratitude. 

"  Laboring  night  and  day  at  literary  work,  all  her  anxiety  was 
to  be  clear  of  debt.  She  was  latterly  constantly  trying  to  cur 
tail  all  her  expenses  in  her  own  establishment,  and  constantly 
toiling  to  get  money.  Worried  and  harassed  at  not  being  able 
to  pay  bills  when  they  were  sent  in — at  seeing  large  expenses 
still  going  on,  and  knowing  the  want  of  means  to  meet  them, 
she  got  no  sleep  at  night.  She  long  wished  to  give  up  Gore 
House,  to  have  a  sale  of  her  furniture,  and  to  pay  oft' her  debts. 
She  wished  this  for  two  years  before  she  left  England  ;  but 
when  the  famine  in  Ireland  rendered  the  payment  of  her  joint 
ure  irregular,  and  every  succeeding  year  more  and  more  so,  her 
difficulties  increased,  and  at  last  H —  —  and  J put  an  ex 
ecution  in  the  house,  which  proved  the  immediate  cause  of  her 
departure  from  England  in  1849. 

"  Poor  soul !  her  heart  was  too  large  for  her  means.  Oh  !  the 
generosity  of  that  woman  was  unbounded  !  I  could  never  tell 
you  the  number  of  persons  she  used  her  influence  with  her 
friends  to  procure  situations  for — great  people  as  well  as  small. 
I  can  not  withhold  my  knowledge  of  these  things  from  you,  one 
of  Lady  Blessirigton's  particular  friends ;  nor  would  I.  say  so 
much,  but  knowing  that  her  ladyship  esteemed  you  so  highly, 
she  would  not  have  scrupled  to  have  told  you  all  that  I  have 
done,  and  a  great  deal  more." 


^00  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

Q,ueen  Catherine's  language  to  "  honest  Griffith"  might  have 
been  applied  by  Lady  Blessington  to  the  person  from  whom  I 
have  received  the  preceding  communication : 

"  After  my  death  I  wish  no  other  herald, 
No  other  speaker  of  my  living  actions, 
To  keep  mine  honor  from  corruption, 
But  such  an  honest  chronicler  as  Griffith."* 

It  would  occupy  a  considerable  portion  of  this  volume  were 
all  the  charitable  acts,  the  untiring  efforts  of  this  truly  generous- 
minded  woman  recorded,  to  bring  her  influence  to  bear  on  friends- 
in  exalted  station  in  behalf  of  people  in  unfortunate  circum 
stances,  and  of  persons  more  happily  situated,  yet  needing  her 
services,  seeking  employment  or  appointments  of  some  kind  or 
another  for  them. 

There  was  this  peculiarity,  too,  in  the  active  benevolence  of 
Lady  Blessington  :  whether  the  person  for  whom  she  interested 
herself  was  rich  or  poor,  of  the  upper  or  the  humble  class  of 
society,  her  exertions  were  equally  strenuous  and  unremitting 
till  they  were  successful.  I  have  on  many  occasions  seen  her, 
after  receiving  a  letter  from  some  important  personage  in  Par 
liament,  or  perhaps  some  friend  of  hers  in  power,  intimating  the 
inability  of  the  party  to  render  the  service  required  by  her  for 
a  protege  of  hers,  when,  for  a  few  moments,  she  would  seem 
greatly  disappointed  and  discouraged.  Then  there  would  be  a 
little  explosion  of  anger  on  account  of  the  refusal  or  non-com 
pliance  with  her  application. 

But  this  was  invariably  followed  by  a  brightening  up  of  her 
looks,  a  little  additional  vehemence  of  tone  and  gesture,  but  ac 
companied  with  some  gleams  of  returning  good-humor  and  gay- 
ety  of  manner,  mingled  at  the  same  time  with  an  air  of  resolu 
tion  ;  and  then  throwing  herself  back  in  her  fautcuil,  and  plant 
ing  her  foot  rather  firmly  on  the  footstool,  still  holding  the  letter 
that  annoyed  her  rolled  up  tightly,  and  apparently  grasped  some 
what  energetically,  she  would  declare  her  firm  determination,  in 
spite  of  the  refusal  she  had  met  with,  that  her  application  should 
be  successful  in  some  other  quarter.  The  poor  person's  friends 
*  Henry  the  Eighth,  Act  iv.,  Sc.  2. 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  201 

or  family  were  counting  on  her  efforts,  and  they  should  not  be 
disappointed. 

The  subject  from  that  time  would  be  uppermost  in  her  mind, 
whoever  the  people  were  who  were  about  her.  But  when  any 
influential  person  entered  the  salon,  many  minutes  would  not 
elapse  before  he  would  be  put  in  possession  of  all  the  worth  of 
the  individual  to  be  served,  and  all  the  wants  of  the  poor  family 
dependent  on  him ;  and  this  would  be  done  with  such  genuine 
eloquence  of  feelings  strongly  excited,  finding  expression  in  glow 
ing  words,  spoken  with  such  pathos,  and  in  accents  of  such  sweet 
ness,  that  an  impression  was  generally  sure  to  be  made,  and  the 
subject  in  view  was  either  directly  or  indirectly; .promoted  or  at 
tained. 

The  embarrassments  of  Lady  Blessington  for  some  years  be 
fore  her  departure  from  England  had  made  her  life  a  continual 
struggle  with  pecuniary  difficulties,  which,  for  the  maintenance 
of  her  position,  it  was  necessary  to  conceal,  and  to  make  a  per 
petual  study  of  concealing.  The  cares,  anxiety,  and  secret  sor 
rows  of  such  a  situation  it  is  easier  to  conceive  than  to  describe. 
Suffice  it  to  say,  they  served  to  embitter  her  career,  and,  latterly, 
to  give  a  turn  to  her  thoughts  in  relation  to  society,  and  a  taste 
for  the  writings  of  those  who  have  dealt  with  its  follies,  as  phi 
losophers,  without  faith  in  God  or  man,  which  tended  by  no 
means  to  her  peace  of  mind,  though  she  attached  great  import 
ance  to  that  sort  of  worldly  wisdom  which  teaches  us  how  to  lay 
bare  the  heart  of  man,  but  leaves  us  in  utter  ignorance  of  all 
things  appertaining  to  his  immortal  spirit. 

It  is  in  vain  to  seek,  in  the  worldly  wisdom  of  Rochefoucault, 
for  remedies  for  the  wear  and  tear  of  literary  life  ;  the  weari 
ness  of  mind,  the  depression  of  physical  energies,  occasioned  by 
long-continued  literary  labors,  and  the  anxieties,  cares,  and  con 
tentions  of  authorship.  The  depression  of  spirits  consequent  on 
disappointments  in  the  struggle  for  distinction,  the  sinking  of 
the  heart  at  the  failure  of  arduous  efforts  to  obtain  success,  the 
blankness  of  life's  aim  after  the  cooling  down  of  early  enthu- 
siam — for  these  ills,  the  remedies  that  will  soothe  the  sick  at 
heart  are  not  to  be  found  in  the  philosophy  of  moralists  who 

12 


202  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

are  materialists  professing  Christianity.  There  is  a  small  book 
ascribed  to  a  religious-minded  man,  named  Thomas  a  Kempis, 
which,  in  all  probability,  Lady  Blessington  never  saw,  in  which 
there  are  germs  of  greater  thoughts,  and  fraught  with  more  con 
soling  influences,  than  are  to  be  discovered  in  the  writings  of 
Rochefoucault  or  Montaigne,  and  from  which  better  comfort  and 
more  abundant  consolation  are  to  be  derived  than  from  any  of 
their  most  successful  efforts  in  laying  bare  the  surface  and  sound 
ing  the  depths  of  the  selfishness  of  the  human  heart. 

Rochefoucault  deems  selfishness  the  primum  mobile  of  all  hu 
mane  and  generous  actions.  Humanity,  in  the  opinion  of  this 
philosopher,  is  like  physic  in  the  practice  of  empirics.  They  ad 
mit  of  no  idiosyncrasies ;  no  controlling  influence  in  nature  ;  no 
varieties  of  character  determined  by  temperament,  fortuitous  cir 
cumstances,  external  impressions,  alteration  or  diversity  of  or 
ganization.  Yet  the  knowledge  of  human  nature  is  a  science 
to  which  no  general  rules  can  be  applied.  There  is  no  certainty 
in  regard  to  the  law  that  is  laid  down  for  its  government,  no 
uniformity  of  action  arising  from  its  operation,  no  equality  of 
intellect,  passion,  disposition,  in  individuals,  to  make  its  general 
application  just  or  possible. 

But,  granting  that  all  men  feel  only  for  the  distresses  of  others 
from  selfish  motives — from  a  sense  of  the  pain  they  would  feel 
if  they  suffered  like  those  with  whom  they  spmpathize  —  still 
their  sympathy  with  misfortune  or  misery  is  beneficial  to  others 
and  themselves.* 

*  In  a  discussion  on  the  subject  of  "the  selfishness  of  the  motives  of  benevo 
lent  actions,"  the  following  anecdote  was  related,  in  opposition  to  the  advocates 
of  the  theory  of  Rochefoucault : 

"  A  poor  woman,  with  three  children,  dressed  in  black,  was  observed  in  Regent 
Street,  standing  at  the  edge  of  the  flags,  not  asking,  but  silently  standing  there, 
for  alms.  A  lady  in  deep  mourning  (widow's  weeds),  of  the  middle  class,  a 
coarse,  hard-featured,  and  even  unfeminine-looking  person,  passed  on ;  but  after 
she  had  gone  nearly  to  the  end  of  the  street,  she  turned  back,  took  out  her  purse, 
and,  with  some  evident  appearances  of  feeling,  gave  money  to  the  poor  woman. 
There  can  be  little  doubt  but  that  the  black  gown  of  the  pauper  had  reminded  the 
passenger  in  widow's  weeds  of  her  bereavement,  and  made  her  feel  for  one,  in  all 
probability,  deprived  like  herself  of  a  husband.  But,  however  much  of  feelings 
of  self,  and  for  self,  might  enter  into  her  emotions,  there  was  sympathy  shown 
with  the  sorrows  of  another  that  were  like  her  own.  And  what  mattered  it  to  the 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  203 

It  is  exceedingly  painful  to  observe  the  undue  importance  that 
Lady  Blessington  attached  to  the  writings  of  Rochefoucault,  and 
the  grievous  error  she  fell  into  of  regarding  them  as  fountains 
of  truth  and  wisdom — of  deep  philosophy,  which  were  to  be  re 
sorted  to  with  advantage  on  all  occasions  necessitating  reflection 
and  inquiry.  Satiated  with  luxuries,  weary  with  the  eternal 
round  of  visits  and  receptions,  and  entertainments  of  intellectual 
celebrities,  fatigued  and  worn  out  with  the  frivolous  pursuits  of 
fashionable  literary  life,  and  fully  sensible  of  the  worthlessness 
of  the  blandishments  of  society  and  the  splendor  of  its  salons, 
she  stood  in  need  of  some  higher  philosophy  than  ever  emanated 
from  mere  worldly  wisdom. 

Literature  and  art  have  their  victims  as  well  as  their  votaries, 
and  those  who  cater  for  the  enjoyments  of  their  society,  and 
aspire  to  the  honor  (ever  dearly  purchased  by  women)  of  reign 
ing  over  it,  must  count  on  many  sacrifices,  and  expect  to  have 
to  deal  with  a  world  of  importunate  pretensions,  of  small  ambi 
tions,  of  large  exigencies,  of  unbounded  vanity,  of  unceasing  flat 
teries,  of  many  attachments,  and  of  few  friendships. 

The  sick  at  heart  and  stricken  in  spirit,  the  weary  and  the 
palled  in  this  society,  have  need  of  other  philosophy  than  that 
which  the  works  of  Rochefoucault  can  supply.  The  dreariness 
of  mind  of  those  jaded  intellectual  celebrities  is  manifest  enough 
to  the  observant ;  in  their  works  and  in  their  conversation,  even 
when  they  appear  in  the  midst  of  the  highest  enjoyments,  with 
bright  thoughts  flashing  from  their  eyes,  with  laughter  on  their 
lips,  and  with  sallies  of  wit,  sarcasm,  or  drollery  coming  from 
their  tongues. 

It  has  been  observed  of  Rochefoucault  by  a  French  writer, 
Monsieur  de  Sacy,  in  a  review  of  that  author's  works : 

"  His  moral  has  every  thing  in  it  that  can  humble  and  depress 
the  heart  of  man,  that  is  to  be  found  in  the  rigorous  doctrine  of 
the  Gospel,  with  the  exception  of  that  which  exalts  man's  ria- 

poor  woman,  who  was  relieved  by  her,  how  that  sympathy  was  associated  ?  and 
to  herself,  was  it  of  no  advantage  to  be  reminded  of  being  subject  to  the  same  sor 
rows  as  the  beggar  in  her  tattered  weeds,  with  her  fatherless  children  beside  her 
in  the  street  ?" 


204  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

ture  and  uplifts  his  spirit.  It  is  the  destruction  of  all  the  illu 
sions,  without  the  hopes  which  should  replace  them.  Roche- 
foucault,  in  a  word,  has  only  taken  from  Christianity  the  fall  of 
man ;  he  left  there  the  dogma  of  the  Redemption  . 
Rochefoucault  believes  no  more  in  piety  than  he  does  in  wis 
dom  ;  no  more  in  God  than  he  does  in  man.  A  penitent  is  not 
more  absurd  in  his  eyes  than  a  philosopher.  Every  where  pride 
— every  where  self,  under  the  hair  shirt  of  the  monk  of  La 
Trappe,  as  well  as  under  the  mantle  of  the  cynic  philosopher. 
Rochefoucault  permits  himself  to  be  a  Christian  only  in  order 
to  pursue  the  emotions  of  the  heart  into  their  last  intrenchments. 
He  condescends  to  seem  to  be  a  Christian  only  to  poison  our 
joys,  and  cast  a  deadly  shade  on  the  most  cherished  illusions  of 
life's  dreams.  What  remains  for  man  then?  For  those  reso 
lute  minds,  there  remains  nothing  but  a  cold  and  daring  con 
tempt  of  all  things  human  and  divine — an  arid  and  stoical  con 
tentment  in  confronting — annihilation:  for  others  differently 
constituted,  there  remains  despair  or  abandonment  to  the  enjoy 
ment  of  brutalizing  pleasures  as  the  only  aim  and  ultimate  ob 
ject  of  life." 

There  remains  for  women  of  cultivated  minds  and  of  eleva 
ted  notions  of  a  literary  kind — women  who  are  the  disciples  of 
Rochefoucault — a  middle  course  to  pursue,  which  Monsieur  de 
Sacy  has  not  noticed  ;  and  that  course  is  to  shine  in  the  society 
of  intellectual  people.  The  pursuit,  indeed,  is  a  soul-wearying 
one,  but  there  is  a  kind  of  glory  in  it  that  dazzles  people,  and 
makes  them  exceedingly  eager  for  it. 

Those  to  whom  amusement  becomes  a  business,  the  art  of 
pleasing  a  drudgery  that  is  daily  to  be  performed,  pass  from  the 
excitement  of  society,  its  labors  and  its  toils,  into  the  retire 
ment  and  privacy  of  domestic  life,  in  exhaustion,  languor,  irk- 
somcncss,  and  crinui  ;  and  from  this  state  they  are  roused  to 
new  efforts  in  the  salons  by  a  craving  appetite  for  notice  and  for 
praise. 

"  Their  breath  is  admiration,  and  their  life 
A  storm  whereon  they  ride." 

Lady  Blessington  had  that  fatal  jjift  of  pre-eminent  attractive- 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  205 

ness  in  society  which  has  rendered  so  many  clever  women  dis 
tinguished  and  unhappy.  The  power  of  pleasing  people  indis 
criminately,  in  large  circles,  is  never  long  exercised  by  women 
with  advantage  to  the  feminine  character  of  their  fascinations. 

The  facility  of  making  one's  self  so  universally  agreeable  in 
literary  salons  as  to  be  there  "the  observed  of  all  observers/' 
"the  admired  of  all  admirers,"  "the  pink  and  rose"  of  the  fair 
state — of  literature,  a  la  mode,  "  the  glass  of  fashion  and  the 
mould  of  form,"  becomes  in  time  fatal  to  naturalness  of  charac 
ter,  singleness  and  sincerity  of  mind.  Friendship  that  becomes 
so  diffusive  as  to  admit  of  as  many  ties  as  there  are  claims  of 
literary  talents  to  notice  in  society,  and  to  be  considered  avail 
able  for  all  intimacies  with  remarkable  persons  and  relations 
with  intellectual  celebrities,  must  be  kept  up  by  constant  admin 
istrations  of  cordial  professions  of  kindness  and  affection,  epis 
tolary  and  conversational,  and  frequent  interchange  of  compli 
ments  and  encomiums,  that  tend  to  invigorate  sentiments  of  re 
gard  that  would  fade  away  without  such  restoratives.  "  On  ne 
loue  d 'ordinaire  que pour  etre  loue."  The  praiser  and  the  praised 
have  a  nervous  apprehension  of  depreciation ;  and  those  who 
live  before  the  public  in  literature  or  society  get  not  unfre- 
quently  into  the  habit  of  lavishing  eulogies,  less  with  reference 
to  the  deserts  of  those  who  are  commended  than  with  a  view  to 
the  object  to  be  gained  by  flattery,  namely,  the  payment  in  its 
own  coin,  and  with  good  interest,  of  the  adulation  that  has  been 
bestowed  on  others. 

Lady  Blessington  exercised  the  double  influence  of  beauty 
and  intellectuality  in  society,  in  attracting  attention,  to  win  ad 
miration,  and  to  gain  dominion  over  admirers. 

In  effecting  this  object,  it  was  the  triumph  of  her  heart  to  ren 
der  all  around  not  only  pleased  with  her,  but  pleased  with 
themselves.  She  lived,  in  fact,  for  distinction  on  the  stage  of 
literary  society  before  the  foot-lights,  and  always  en  scene.  Lady 
Blessington  was  very  conscious  of  possessing  the  hearts  of  her 
audience.  She  had  become  accustomed  to  an  atmosphere  of 
adulation,  and  the  plaudits  of  those  friends,  which  were  never 
out  of  her  ears,  at  last  became  a  necessity  to  her.  Her  abode 


206  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

was  a  temple,  and  she  the  Minerva  of  the  shrine,  whom  all  the 
votaries  of  literature  and  art  worshiped. 

The  swinging  of  the  censer  before  her  fair  face  never  ceased 
in  those  salons,  and  soft  accents  of  homage  to  her  beauty  and 
her  talents  seldom  failed  to  be  whispered  in  her  ear,  while  she 
sat  enthroned  in  that  well-known  fauteuil  of  hers,  holding  high 
court  in  queen-like  state — "  the  most  gorgeous  Lady  Blessing- 
ton."*  The  desire  for  this  sort  of  distinction  of  a  beautiful  wom 
an  bookishly  given — in  other  words,  "  the  coqucttcrie  d'un  dame 
des  salons  litteraircs" — in  many  respects  is  similar  to  that  com 
mon  sort  of  female  ambition,  of  gaining  the  admiration  of  many 
without  any  design  of  forming  an  attachment  for  one,  which 
Madam  de  Genlis  characterizes,  "Ce  quo  Ics  hommes  mepriscnt  et 
qul  les  attire." 

But,  in  one  respect,  the  intellectual  species  of  coquetry  is  of 
a  higher  order  than  the  other ;  it  makes  the  power  of  beauty, 
of  fascination,  of  pleasing  manners,  auxiliary  only  to  the  influ 
ence  of  intellect,  and  seeks  for  conquests  over  the  mind,  even 
while  it  aims  at  gaining  an  ascendency  over  the  feelings  of  the 
heart.  The  chief  aim  of  it,  however,  is  to  achieve  triumphs 
over  all  within  its  circle,  and  for  this  end,  the  lady  ambitious 
of  reigning  in  literary  society  must  live  to  be  courted,  admired, 
homaged  by  its  celebrities.  The  queen-regnant  in  its  salons 
must  at  length  cease  to  confide  in  the  natural  gifts  and  graces 
which  belong  to  her — the  original  simplicity  of  her  character  or 
sweetness  of  her  disposition.  She  must  become  an  actress 
there,  she  must  adapt  her  manners,  fashion  her  ideas,  accommo 
date  her  conversation  to  the  taste,  tone  of  thought,  and  turn  of 
mind  of  every  individual  around  her. 

She  must  be  perpetually  demonstrating  her  own  attractions 
or  attainments,  or  calling  forth  any  peculiarities  in  others  calcu 
lated  to  draw  momentary  attention  to  them.  She  must  become 
a  slave  to  the  caprices,  envious  feelings,  contentions,  rivalries, 
selfish  aims,  ignoble  sacrifices,  and  exigcants  pretensions  of  lite- 

*  Dr.  Parr  was  introduced  to  Lady  Blessington  by  Mr.  Pettigrew,  and  shortly 
after  that  introduction,  the  doctor,  writing  to  Mr.  Pettigrew,  spoke  of  her  ladyship 
rgeous  Lady  Blessington." 


111*11.  jiuruuucuon,  me  uocior,  willing  i< 
'the  most  gorgeous  Lady  Blessington." 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  207 

rati,  artists,  and  all  the  notabilities  of  fashionable  circles,  les 
amis  des  hommes  des  lettres,  ou  les  amants  imaginaires  des  dames 
d 'esprit. 

In  a  word,  she  must  part  with  all  that  is  calculated  to  make 
a  woman  in  this  world  happy — peace  of  mind,  the  society  of 
true  friends,  and  pursuits  which  tend  to  make  women  loved  and 
cherished  ;  the  language  of  sincerity,  the  simplicity  and  endear 
ing  satisfaction  of  home  enjoyments.  And  what  does  she  gain 
when  she  has  parted  with  all  these  advantages,  and  has  attain 
ed  the  summit  of  her  ambition  ?  a  name  in  the  world  of  fash 
ion,  some  distinction  in  literary  circles,  homage  and  admiration 
so  long  as  prosperity  endures,  and  while  means  are  to  be  found 
for  keeping  up  the  splendor  of  a  vast  establishment  and  its 
brilliant  circles. 

And  when  the  end  of  all  the  illusion  of  this  state  of  splendid 
misery  comes  at  last,  the  poor  lady  who  has  lived  in  it  so  long 
awakens  from  it  as  from  a  dream,  and  the  long  delirium  of  it 
becomes  manifest  to  her.  She  has  thrown  away  fortune,  time, 
and  talents  in  obtaining  distinction,  in  surrounding  herself  with 
clever  people,  in  patronising  and  entertaining  artists  and  lite 
rati.  She  has  sacrificed  health  and  spirits  in  this  pursuit.  Her 
establishment  is  broken  up — nothing  remains  to  her  of  all  its 
treasures  ;  she  has  to  fly  to  another  country,  and,  after  a  few 
weeks,  she  is  suddenly  carried  off,  leaving  some  persons  that 
knew  her  well  and  long  to  lament  that  one  so  generous,  kindly 
disposed,  naturally  amiable  and  noble-minded,  so  highly  gifted, 
clever,  and  talented,  should  have  been  so  unhappily  circum 
stanced  in  early  life  and  in  more  advanced  years,  as  well  as  at 
the  close  of  her  existence,  and  that  she  should  have  been  placed 
so  long  in  a  false  position  ;  in  a  few  words,  that  the  whole 
course  of  her  life  should  have  been  infelicitous. 

The  wear  and  tear  of  literary  life  leave  very  unmistakable 
evidence  of  their  operation  on  the  traits,  thoughts,  and  energies 
of  bookish  people.  Like  the  eternal  rolling  of  the  stone  of  Sis 
yphus,  the  fruitless  toiling  up  the  hill,  and  the  conscious  failure 
of  each  attempt  on  coming  down,  are  the  ceaseless  struggles 
for  eminence  of  authors,  artists,  and  those  who  would  be  sur- 


208  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

rounded  by  them  in  society  as  their  patrons  or  influential  ad 
mirers,  and  would  obtain  their  homage  for  so  being. 

Like  those  unceasing  tantalizing  efforts  on  which  the  ener 
gies  of  Sisyphus  were  expended  in  vain,  are  the  tiring  pursuits 
of  the  literati,  treading  on  the  heels  of  one  another  day  after 
day,  tugging  with  unremitting  toil  at  one  uniform  task — to  ob 
tain  notoriety,  to  overcome  competition,  to  supplant  others  in 
public  favor,  and,  having  met  with  some  success,  to  maintain  a 
position  at  any  cost,  with  the  eminence  of  which  perhaps  some 
freak  of  fortune  may  have  had  more  to  do  than  any  intrinsic 
worth  or  superior  merit  of  their  own.  And  then  they  must 
end  the  labors  which  have  consumed  their  health  and  strength 
without  any  solid  advantage  in  the  way  of  an  addition  to  their 
happiness,  a  security  to  their  peace  of  mind,  or  a  conviction  that 
those  labors  have  tended  materially  to  the  real  good  of  mankind, 
and  thereby  to  the  glory  of  God,  and  of  His  cause  on  earth, 
namely,  the  promotion  of  the  interests  of  truth,  justice,  and  hu 
manity. 

In  no  spirit  of  unkindness  toward  the  memory  of  Lady  Bless- 
ington,  in  no  cynical  mood,  or  momentary  forgetfulness  even, 
of  the  many  estimable  qualities  and  excellent  talents  which  she 
possessed,  let  us  ask,  did  her  literary  career,  and  position  in  lit 
erary  society,  secure  for  her  any  of  those  advantages  which  have 
been  just  referred  to,  or  was  that  position  attended  with  any  sol 
id  benefits  to  those  high  interests  which  transcend  all  others  in 
this  world  in  importance  ? 

Or,  apart  from  her  literary  career,  if  the  question  be  asked, 
"Was  her  life  happy  ?  assuredly  the  answer  must  be,  It  was  not 
happy. 

In  the  height  of  her  success,  in  the  most  brilliant  period  of  her 
London  life,  in  St.  James's  Square,  in  Seamorc  Place,  in  Gore 
House,  in  the  midst  of  the  luxuries  by  which  she  was  surround 
ed,  even  at  the  period  of  her  fewest  cares — in  Italy  and  France 
— the  present  enjoyments  were  never  unaccompanied  with  reminis 
cences  of  the  past  that  were  painful. 

But  who  could  imagine  that  such  was  the  case  who  knew 
her  only  in  crowded  salons,  so  apparently  joyous,  animated,  and 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.          209 

exhilarated  by  the  smiling  looks  and  soft  accents  of  those  who 
paid  such  flattering  homage  to  her  beauty  and  her  talent,  fully 
conscious  as  she  was  of  the  admiration  she  excited,  and  so  ac 
customed  to  it  that  it  seemed  to  have  become  essential  to  her 
being  ? 

Ample  evidence  is  to  be  found  in  the  detached  thoughts  of 
Lady  Blessington,  scattered  through  her  papers  or  among  those 
records  of  reflection  to  which  she  gave  the  appropriate  name  of 
"Night  Thought  Books."  The  following  extracts  from  them 
may  serve  to  show  the  truth  of  the  preceding  observation. 

WRONGS  AND  WOES  OF  WOMEN. 

"  Men  can  pity  the  wrongs  inflicted  by  other  men  on  the  gen 
tler  sex,  but  never  those  which  they  themselves  inflict  (on  wom 
en)." 

"  duelle  destinee  que  cette  de  la  femme  !  A  1'etre  le  plus  foi 
ble  le  plus  entoure  des  seductions,  le  plus  mal  eleve,  pour  les 
resister,  les  juges  les  plus  severes,  les  peines  les  plus  dures  la 
vengeance  la  plus  inflexible,  duand  le  ciel  chasse  de  son  Pa- 
radis  notre  pere  et  notre  mere  coupables,  la  glaive  de  1'ange  les 
frappa  tous  deux  :  pour  tous  deux  son  feu  impitoyable  brula  de- 
vant  la  porte  du  lien  des  delices,  sans  que  la  femme  fut  plus 
puni,  plus  malheureux  que  1'homme.  Si  elle  eut  les  douleurs 
de  la  maternite,  son  compagnon  d'infortune  eut  les  sueurs  du 
travail  et  les  horribles  angoisses  qui  accompagnent  le  spectacle 
des  souflrances  de  celle  qu'on  aime.  II  n'y  eut  point  entre  eux 
un  inegal  partage  de  punition,  et  Adam  ne  put  pas  a  1'exclusion 
d'Eve  rentrer  dans  ce  jardin  qui  lui  fermait  la  colere  du  ciel! 
Hommes  vous  vous  etes  faits  pour  nous  plus  inflexible  que  Dieu, 
et  quand  nous  sommes  tombees  par  vous,  a  cause  de  vous,  pour 
nous  seules  brille  1'epee  qui  met  hors  du  monde,  hors  de  1'hon- 
neur,  hors  de  1'estime,  et  qui  nous  empeche  a  jamais  d'y  ren 
trer."  ! ! ! — Brissct. 

"  The  whole  system  of  female  education  is  to  teach  women  to 
allure  and  not  to  repel,  yet  how  much  more  essential  is  the  lat 
ter  r 

"  England  is  the  only  country  in  Europe  where  the  loss  of 


210  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

one's  virtue  superinduces  the  loss  of  all.  I  refer  to  chastity. 
A  woman  known  to  have  violated  this  virtue,  though  she  pos 
sess  all  the  other  virtues,  is  driven  with  ignominy  from  society 
into  a  solitude  rendered  insupportable  by  a  sense  of  the  injus 
tice  by  which  she  is  made  a  victim  to  solitude,  which  often  be 
comes  the  grave  of  the  virtues  she  brought  to  it." 

"  Passion  !  Possession !  Indifference  !  What  a  history  is  com 
prised  in  these  three  words !  What  hopes  and  fears  succeeded 
by  a  felicity  as  brief  as  intoxicating — followed  in  its  turn  by  the 
old  consequence  of  possession — indifference  !  What  burning 
tears,  what  bitter  pangs,  rending  the  very  heart-strings — what 
sleepless  nights  and  watchful  days  form  part  of  this  cvery-day 
story  of  life,  whose  termination  leaves  the  actors  to  search  again 
for  new  illusions  to  finish  like  the  last !" 

"  A  woman  who  exposes,  even  to  a  friend,  her  domestic  un- 
happiness,  has  violated  the  sanctity  of  home  and  the  delicacy  of 
affection,  and  placed  an  enduring  obstacle  to  the  restoration  of 
interrupted  domestic  peace  and  happiness." 

"  The  youth  of  women  is  entitled  to  the  affectionate  interest 
of  the  aged  of  their  own  sex." 

"  Women  who  have  reached  old  age  should  look  with  affec 
tionate  interest  on  those  of  their  own  sex  who  are  still  travel 
ing  the  road  scattered  with  flowers  and  thorns  over  which  they 
have  already  passed  themselves,  as  wanderers  who  have  jour 
neyed  on  through  many  dangers  should  regard  those  who  are 
still  toiling  over  the  same  route." 

BEAUTY  WITHOUT  THE  SECURITY  OF  FIXED  PRINCIPLE. 

"A beautiful  woman  without  fixed  principles  may  be  likened 
to  those  fair  but  rootless  flowers  which  float  in  streams,  driven 
by  every  breeze." 

"  Whenever  we  make  a  false  step  in  life,  we  take  more  pains 
to  justify  it  than  would  have  saved  us  from  its  commission,  and 
yet  we  never  succeed  in  convincing  others — nay,  more,  ourselves 
— that  we  have  acted  rightly." 

"The  happiness  of  a  woman  is  lost  forever  when  her  hus 
band  ceases  to  be  its  faithful  guardian.  To  whom  else  can  she 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSJNGTON.  211 

confide  the  treasure  of  her  peace  who  will  not  betray  the  trust  ? 
and  it  is  so  precious,  that,  unless  carefully  guarded,  it  is  soon 
lost." 

"  Love-matches  are  made  by  people  who  are  content,  for  a 
month  of  honey,  to  condemn  themselves  to  a  life  of  vinegar." 

"  There  are  some  chagrins  of  the  heart  which  a  friend  ought 
to  try  to  console  without  betraying  a  knowledge  of  their  exist 
ence,  as  there  are  physical  maladies  which  a  physician  ought 
to  seek  to  heal  without  letting  the  sufferer  know  that  he  has 
discovered  their  extent." 

"  In  some  women  modesty  has  been  known  to  survive  chas 
tity,  and  in  others  chastity  to  survive  modesty.  The  last  exam 
ple  is  the  most  injurious  to  the  interests  of  society,  because  they 
who  believe,  while  they  preserve  chastity  inviolate,  that  they 
may  throw  aside  the  feminine  reserve  and  delicacy  which  ought 
to  be  its  outward  sign  and  token,  give  cause  for  suspicions,  and 
offend  the  purity  of  others  of  their  sex  with  whom  they  are 
brought  in  contact  much  more  than  those  who,  failing  in  chas 
tity,  preserve  its  decency  and  decorum." 

"  The  want  of  chastity  is  a  crime  against  one's  self,  but  the 
want  of  modesty  is  a  crime  against  society." 

"  A  chaste  woman  may  yield  to  the  passion  of  her  lover,  but 
an  unchaste  woman  gives  way  to  her  own."* 

Lines  on  various  subjects,  from  the  "  Night  Thought  Book" 
of  Lady  Blessington : 

NIGHT. 

1. 

"  Yes,  night  !  I  love  thy  silence  and  thy  calm, 
That  o'er  my  spirits  shed  a  soothing  balm, 
Lifting  my  soul  to  brighter,  purer  spheres, 
Far,  far  removed  from  this  dark  vale  of  tears. 

2. 

"  There  is  a  holiness,  a  blessed  peace 
In  thy  repose,  that  bids  our  sorrow  cease  ; 
That  stills  the  passions  in  the  hallowed  breast, 
And  lulls  the  tortured  feelings  into  rest." 

*  Some  of  the  sentiments  expressed  in  these  observations  I  do  not  think  true 
or  just,  in  a  moral  or  religious  point  of  view. — R.  R.  M. 


'212  LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

FLOWERS. 

"  Flowers  are  the  bright  remembrances  of  youth  ; 
They  waft  back,  with  their  bland  and  odorous  breath, 
The  joyous  hours  that  only  young  life  knows, 
Ere  we  have  learned  that  this  fair  earth  hides  graves. 
They  bring  the  check  that's  mouldering  in  the  dust 
Again  before  us,  tinged  with  health's  own  rose  ; 
They  bring  the  voices  we  shall  hear  no  more, 
Whose  tones  were  sweetest  music  to  our  ears ; 
They  bring  the  hopes  that  faded  one  by  one, 
Till  naught  was  left  to  light  our  path  but  faith, 
That  we,  too,  like  the  flowers,  should  spring  to  life, 
But  not,  like  them,  again  e'er  fade  or  die." 

Lines  of  Lady  Blessington,  unfinished,  written  on  the  back  of 
a  letter  of  Lord  Durham,  very  much  injured  and  defaced,  dated 
July  28,1837: 

"  At  midnight's  silent  hour,  when  hushed  in  sleep, 

They  who  have  labored  or  have  sorrowed  lie, 

Learning  from  slumber  how  'tis  sweet  to  die, 

I  love  my  vigils  of  the  heart  to  keep  ; 

For  then  fond  memory  unlocks  her  store, 

"Which  in  the  garish  noisy 

Then  comes  reflection,  musing  on  the  lore 

And  precepts  of  pure,  mild  philosophy. 

Sweet  voices — silent  now, 

Bless  my  charmed  car ;  sweet  smiles  are  seen, 

Though  they  who  wore  them  long  now  dwell  on  high, 

Where  I  shall  meet  them,  but  with  chastened  mien, 

To  tell  how  dull  was  life  where  they  were  not, 

And  that  they  never,  never  were  forgot." 

Unfinished  lines  in  pencil,  with  numerous  corrections  and  al 
terations,  in  the  hand-writing  of  Lady  Blessington,  apparently  of 
a  recent  date  : 

"  And  years,  long,  weary  years  have  rolled  away, 
Since  youth  with  all  its  sunny  smiles  has  fled, 
And  hope  within  this  saddened  breast  is  dead, 
To  gloomy  doubts  and  dark  despair  a  prey, 
Turning  from  pleasure's  flow'ry  path  astray, 
To  haunts  where  melancholy  thoughts  are  bred, 
And  meditation  broods  with  inward  dread 
Amid  the  shades  of  pensive  twilight  gray. 


LITERARY  CAREER  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.  213 

Yet  has  this  heart  not  ceased  to  thrill  with  pain, 
Though  joy  can  make  its  pulses  beat  no  more ; 
Its  wish  to  reach  indifference  is  vain, 
And  will  be,  till  life's  fitful  fever's  o'er, 
'And  it  has  reached  the  dim  and  silent  shore, 
Where  sorrow  it  shall  never  know  again. 
Like  to  a  stream  whose  current's  frozen  o'er, 
Yet  still  flows  on  beneath  its  icy " 

*  *  -X-  *  * 

On  the  same  sheet  of  paper  as  that  on  which  the  preceding 
lines  are  written,  there  are  the  following  fragments  of  verse, 
evidently  composed  in  the  same  thoughtful  rnood  as  the  previous 
lines  of  a  retrospective  character  : 

"  But  though  the  lily-root  in  earth 

Lies  an  unsightly  thing, 
Yet  thence  the  flow'ret  had  its  birth, 

And  into  light  will  spring. 
So  when  this  form  is  in  the  dust,* 

Of  mortals  all,  the  lot, 
Oh,  may  my  soul  its  prison  burst, 

Its  errors  all  forgot !" 

Other  lines  unfinished,  in  a  MS.  book  of  Lady  Blessington, in 
her  ladyship's  hand-writing : 

"  The  smile  that  plays  around  the  lips 

When  sorrow  preys  upon  our  hearts, 
Is  like  the  flowers  with  which  we  deck 

The  youthful  corpse  ere  it  departs 
Forever  to  the  silent  grave, 
From  those  who  would  have  died  to  save." 

A  fragment  in  penciling,  in  another  commonplace  book  of 
kady  Blessington,  in  her  ladyship's  hand-writing,  but  no  date  or 
signature  : 

"  Pardon,  0  Lord  !  if  this  too  sinful  heart, 

Ingrate  to  thee,  did  for  a  mortal  feel 
Love  all  too  pure  for  earth  to  have  a  part. 

Pardon — for  lowly  at  thy  feet  I  kneel : 
Bowed  to  the  dust,  my  heart,  like  a  crushed  flower, 

Yields  all  remaining  sweetness  at  thy  shrine. 

*  A  liiif  has  here  been  erased 


214     NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

Thou  only,  Lord  of  mercy,  now  hath  power 

To  bid  repose  and  hope  again  be  mine. 
Chase  from  this  fond  and  too  long  tortured  breast 

Thoughts  that  intrude  to  steal  my  soul  from  thee  ; 
Aid  me  within  a  cloister  to  find  rest, 

When  I  from  sin  and  passion  shall  be  free." 

No  one  who  ever  knew  Lady  Blessington,  and  perhaps  few 
persons  who  may  chance  to  read  these  pages,  would  refuse  to 
say  "  Amen"  to  that  sweet  prayer. 


CHAPTER  XI. 

NOTICES    OF    THE    WRITINGS    OF    LADY    BLESSINGTON,    ETC. 

IT  would  be  absurd  to  lay  claim  for  Lady  Blessington  to  the 
great  attributes  of  first-rate  intellectual  powers,  creative  and  in 
ventive,  namely,  concentrativeness,  originality,  vigor,  and  ele 
vation  of  mind,  genius  of  the  highest  order,  combining  intensity 
of  thought,  strength  of  imagination,  depth  of  feeling,  combina 
tive  talents,  and  mastery  of  intellect  in  delineation  and  descrip 
tion  ;  excellence,  in  short,  in  literature,  that  serves  to  give  a  vivid 
look  and  life-like  appearance  to  every  thing  it  paints  in  words. 

It  would  be  a  folly  to  seek  in  the  mental  gifts  and  graces  of 
Lady  Blessington  for  evidences  of  the  divine  inspirations  of  ex 
alted  genius,  endowed  with  all  its  instincts  and  ideality,  favored 
with  bright  visions  of  the  upper  regions  of  poetry  and  fiction, 
with  glimpses  of  ethereal  realms,  peopled  with  shadowy  forms 
and  spiritualized  beings,  with  glorious  attributes  and  perfec 
tions,  or  to  imagine  we  are  to  discover  in  her  keen  perception 
of  the  ridiculous  the  excellent  in  art,  literature,  or  conversation, 
or  in  her  ideas  of  the  marvelous  or  admirable  in  striking  effects, 
sublime  conceptions  of  the  grand,  the  beautiful,  the  chivalrous, 
or  supernatural.  The  power  of  realization  of  great  ideas,  with 
out  encumbering  the  representation  of  ideal  objects  with  mate 
rial  images  and  earthly  associations,  belongs  only  to  genius  of 
the  first  order,  and  between  it  and  graceful  talent,  fine  taste, 
shrewdness  of  mind,  and  quickness  of  apprehension,  there  are 
many  degrees  of  intellectual  excellence. 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    215 

It  is  very  questionable  if  any  of  the  works  of  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  with  the  exception  of  the  "  Conversations  with  Lord  By 
ron,"  and  perhaps  the  "  Idler  in  Italy,"  will  maintain  a  perma 
nent  position  in  English  miscellaneous  literature.  The  interest 
taken  in  the  writer  was  the  main  source  of  the  temporary  inter 
est  that  was  felt  in  her  literary  performances. 

The  master-thinker  of  the  last  century  has  truly  observed  : 
"  An  author  bustling  in  the  world,  showing  himself  in  public, 
and  emerging  occasionally,  from  time  to  time,  into  notice,  might 
keep  his  works  alive  by  his  personal  influence  ;  but  that  which 
conveys  little  information,  and  gives  no  great  pleasure,  must  soon 
give  way,  as  the  succession  of  things  produces  new  topics  of 
conversation,  and  other  modes  of  amusement."* 

Lady  Blessington  commenced  her  career  of  authorship  in  1822. 
Her  first  work,  entitled  "  The  Magic  Lantern  ;  or,  Sketches  of 
Scenes  in  the  Metropolis,"  was  published  by  Longman  in  that 
year,  in  one  volume  8vo. 

The  work  was  written  evidently  by  one  wholly  inexperienced 
in  the  ways  of  authorship.  There  were  obvious  marks  in  it, 
however,  of  cleverness,  quickness  of  perception,  shrewdness  of 
observation,  and  of  kindly  feelings,  though  occasionally  sarcastic 
tendencies  prevailed  over  them.  There  were  evidences  in  that 
production,  moreover,  of  a  natural  turn  for  humor  and  drollery, 
strong  sensibility  also,  and  some  graphic  powers  of  description 
in  her  accounts  of  affecting  incidents. 

The  sketches  in  the  "  Magic  Lantern"  arc  the  Auction,  the 
Park,  the  Tomb,  the  Italian  Opera. 

A  second  edition  of  the  "  Magic  Lantern"  was  published  soon 
after  the  first.  There  is  a  draught  of  a  preface,  in  her  lady 
ship's  hand-writing,  intended  for  this  edition,  among  her  papers, 
with  the  following  lines  : 

"  If  some  my  Magic  Lantern  should  offend, 
The  fault's  not  mine,  for  scandal's  not  my  end ; 
'Tis  vice  and  folly  that  I  hold  in  view  : 
Your  friends,  not  I,  find  likenesses  to  you." 

It  is  very  questionable  if  more  indications  of  talent  are  not  to 
*  Dr.  Johnson.     Life  of  Mallet. 


216    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

be  found  in  the  first  work  written  by  Lady  Blessington,  "  The 
Magic  Lantern,"  than  in  the  next  production,  or,  indeed,  in  any 
succeeding  performance  of  hers,  though  she  looked  so  unfavor 
ably  on  "  The  Magic  Lantern"  in  her  later  years  as  seldom  or 
never  to  make  any  reference  to  it. 

"  Sketches  and  Fragments,"  the  second  work  by  Lady  Bless 
ington,  was  also  published  by  Longman  in  1822,  in  one  small 
12mo  volume.  The  preface  to  it  is  dated  June  12, 1822.  The 
contents  of  this  volume  are  the  following : 

Blighted  Hopes,  Marriage,  the  Ring,  Journal  of  a  Week  of  a 
Lady  of  Fashion,  an  Allegory,  Fastidiousness  of  Taste,  Coquet 
ry,  Egotism,  Reflections,  Sensibility,  Friendship,  "Wentworth 
Fragments. 

In  the  "  Sketches  and  Fragments,"  Lady  Blessington  began  to 
be  somewhat  affected  and  conventional,  to  assume  a  character 
of  strait-laced  propriety  and  purism,  that  made  it  incumbent  on 
her  to  restrain  her  natural  thoughts  and  feelings,  and  to  adopt 
certain  formulas  expressive  of  very  exalted  sentiments,  and  of  a 
high  sense  of  the  duties  she  had  imposed  on  herself  as  a  censor 
of  society — its  manners,  morals,  and  all  .externals  affecting  the 
decorum  of  its  character.  The  fact  is,  Lady  Blessington  was 
never  less  effective  in  her  writings  than  when  she  ceased  to  be 
natural.  And  with  respect  to  her  second  production,  though  in 
point  of  style  and  skill  in  composition  it  was  an  improvement 
on  her  former  work,  in  other  respects  it  was  hardly  equal  to  it. 

Lady  Blessington  received  no  remuneration  from  cither  of  the 
works  just  mentioned.  From  the  produce  of  the  sale  of  the  sec 
ond  production,  after  defraying  all  the  expenses  of  publication, 
there  was  a  small  sum  of  £20  or  JC30  available,  which  was  ap 
plied,  by  her  ladyship's  directions,  to  a  charitable  purpose. 

The  necessity  of  augmenting  her  income  by  turning  her  lit 
erary  talents  to  a  profitable  account  brought  Lady  Blessington 
before  the  public  as  a  writer  of  fashionable  novels.  The  pecul 
iar  talent  she  exhibited  in  this  style  of  composition  was  in  lively 
descriptions  of  persons  in  high  life,  in  some  respect  or  other 
rmtre  or  ridiculous,  in  a  vein  of  quiet  humor,  which  ran  through 
out  her  writings — a  common-sense,  and  generally  an  amiable 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.     217 

way  of  viewing  most  subjects  ;  a  pleasant  mode  of  effecting  an 
entente  cordiale  with  her  readers,  an  air  of  good-nature  in  her 
observations,  and  an  apparent  absence  of  malice  or  malignity  in 
the  smart  sayings,  sharp  and  satirical,  which  she  delighted  in 
giving  utterance  to. 

The  great  defect  of  her  novels  was  want  of  creative  power, 
and  constructive  skill  in  devising  a  plot,  arid  carrying  on  any 
regularly  planned  action  from  the  beginning  of  a  work  to  its 
close,  and  making  the  denouement  the  result  that  ought  to  be  ex 
pected  from  the  incidents  of  the  story  throughout  its  progress. 

The  characters  of  her  mere  men  of  fashion  are  generally  well 
drawn.  Many  of  her  sketches  of  scenes  (in  one  of  the  French 
acceptations  of  the  word)  in  society,  not  of  scenes  in  nature,  are 
admirably  drawn. 

Lady  Blessington,  in  novel-writing,  discarded  the  services  of 
"  gorgons,  hydras,  and  chimsBras  dire."  She  had  no  taste  for 
horrors  of  that  kind  ;  and  if  she  had  ventured  into  the  delinea 
tion  of  them,  the  materiel  of  her  imagination  would  riot  have  en 
abled  her  to  deal  with  them  successfully. 

The  characters  of  her  women  are  generally  naturally  deline 
ated,  except  when  in  waging  war  with  the  follies  or  vices  of 
fashionable  society.  She  portrayed  its  female  members  in  col 
ors  rather  too  dark  to  be  true  to  nature,  or  even  just  to  her  own 
sex.  But  she  always  professed  to  have  a  great  dislike  to  works 
of  fiction  in  which  humanity  was  depicted  in  a  revolting  aspect, 
and  individuals  were  represented  without  any  redeeming  trait 
in  their  characters.  We  firrd  in  several  of  her  novels,  in  the 
character  of  the  personages,  a  mixture  of  good  and  evil,  and 
seldom,  except  in  "  the  Victims  of  Society,"  evidence  of  unmit 
igated,  unredeemable  baseness  and  villainy  in  the  character  of 
any  person  she  writes  of.  Books  that  give  pain,  and  are  disa 
greeable  to  think  of  after  they  had  been  read,  she  had  a  strong 
objection  to.  One  of  her  literary  correspondents  in  1845,  writ 
ing  to  her,  referring  to  a  recent  work  which  gave  a  painful  and 
disagreeable  portraiture  of  several  characters,  said,  "  It  is  a  sin 
against  art,  which  is  designed  to  please  even  in  the  terrors  which 
it  evokes.  But  the  highest  artists — -Sophocles,  Shakspeare,  and 

VOL.  T.— K 


218     NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

Goethe — have  departed  from  that  rule  on  certain  occasions  and 
for  certain  ends.  I  should  have  compromised  with  the  guilt 
depicted  if  I  had  abated  the  pain  the  contemplation  of  such 
guilt  should  occasion.  It  is  in  showing  by  what  process  the 
three  orders  of  mind,  which,  rightly  trained  and  regulated,  pro 
duce  the  fairest  results  of  humanity,  may  be  depraved  to  its 
scourge  and  pestilence,  that  I  have  sought  the  analysis  of 
truths  which,  sooner  or  later,  will  vindicate  their  own  moral 

utilities.  The  calculating  intellect  of  I) ,  which  should 

have  explored  science;  the  sensual  luxuriance  and  versatility 

of  Y ,  which  should  have  enriched  art ;  the  conjunction  of 

earnest  passion  with  masculine  understanding  in  L ,  which 

should  have  triumphed  for  good  and  high  ends  in  active  prac 
tical  life,  are  all  hurled  down  into  the  same  abyss  of  irretriev 
able  guilt,  from  want  of  the  one  supporting  principle — broth 
erhood  and  sympathy  with  others.  They  are  incarnations  of 
egotism  pushed  to  the  extreme.  And  I  suspect  those  most 
indignant  at  the  exposition  are  those  who  have  been  startled 
with  the  likeness  of  their  own  hearts.  They  may  not  have  the 
guilt  of  the  hateful  three,  but  they  wince  from  the  lesson  that 
guilt  inculcates.  The  earnestness  of  the  author's  own  views 
can  alone  console  him  in  the  indiscriminate  and  lavish  abuse, 
with  all  its  foul  misrepresentations,  which  greets  his  return  to 
literature,  and,  unless  he  is  greatly  mistaken,  the  true  moral  of 
his  book  will  be  yet  recognized,  though  the  vindication  may 
be  deferred  till  it  can  only  be  rendered  to  dust — a  stone  and 
a  name." 

In  1832,  in  "  Colburn's  New  Monthly  Magazine,"  Lady  Bless- 
ington's  "  Journal  of  Conversations  with  Lord  Byron"  made  its 
first  appearance.  The  Journal  contains  matter  certainly  of  the 
highest  and  most  varied  interest,  and  would  convey  as  just  an 
account  of  Byron's  character,  and  as  unexaggerated  a  sketch  as 
any  that  has  been  ever  published,  if  some  secret  feeling  of 
pique  arid  sense  of  annoyance  were  not  felt  by  her,  and  had  not 
stolen  into  her  "  Conversations." 

The  "Journal"  was  published  in  one  vol.  8vo,  a  little  later, 
and  had  a  very  extensive  sale. 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.     219 

"Grace  Cassidy,  or  the  Repealers,"  a  novel  in  3  vols.,  was 
published  by  Bentley  in  1833. 

From  all  Irish  political  novels,  including  "  The  Repealers," 
the  English  public  may  pray  most  earnestly  to  be  delivered.* 

"  Meredyth,"  a  novel  in  3  vols.,  was  published  by  Longman, 
1833. 

In  October,  1833,  Mr.  "William  Longman  wrote  to  Lady  Bless- 
ington,  stating  that  "  Meredyth"  had  not  hitherto  had  the  suc 
cess  that  had  been  anticipated.  £45  had  been  spent  in  ad 
vertising,  and  only  380  copies  sold,  300  of  which  had  been  sub 
scribed. 

*  KEY  TO  THE  REPEALERS. 

(WRITTEN    IN   1833.) 

Duchess  of  Heaviland — Duchess  of  Northumberland. 

Marchioness  of  Bowood — Marchioness  of  Lansdowne 

Countess  of  Grandison — Countess  of  Grantham. 

Lord  Albany — Lord  Alvanley. 

Lord  Elsinore — Lady  Tullamore. 

Lady  Rodney — Lady  Sidney. 

Duke  of  Lismore — Duke  of  Devonshire. 

Mrs.  Grantley — Mrs.  Norton. 

Countess  of  Guernsey — Countess  of  Jersey. 

Lord  Rey — Earl  Grey. 

Marchioness  of  Stewartville — Marchioness  of  Londonderry. 

Lord  Montague — Lord  Rokeby. 

Duchess  of  Lennox — Duchess  of  Richmond. 

Marchioness  of  Burton — Marchioness  of  Conyngham. 

Marquess  of  Mona — Marquess  of  Anglesey. 

Lady  Augusta  Jaring — Lady  Augusta  Baring. 

Marchioness  of  Glanricarde — Marchioness  of  Clanricarde. 

Lady  E.  Hart  Burtley— Lady  E.  S.  Wortley. 

Lady  Yesterfield — Lady  Chesterfield. 

Mrs.  Pranson — Hon.  Mrs.  Anson. 

Lady  Lacre — Lady  Dacre. 

Lady  Noreley — Lady  Moreley. 

Mr.  Manly — Mr.  Stanley. 

Sir  Robert  Neil— Sir  Robert  Peel. 

Mr.  Hutter  Serguson — Mr.  Cutlar  Ferguson. 

Mr.  Enice— Mr.  Edward  Ellice. 

Mr.  Theil— Mr.  R.  L.  Sheil. 

Lord  Refton — Lord  Sefton. 

Lady  Castlemont — Lady  Charlemont. 

Lord  Loath — Lord  Meath. 

Duke  and  Duchess  of  Cartdun — Duko  and  Duchess  cf  Leinster, 


220 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 


"  The  Follies  of  Fashion,  or  the  Beau  Monde  of  London  in 
1835" — a  sketch  by  Lady  Blessington,  appeared  in  one  of  the 
periodicals  of  the  time. 

"  The  Belle  of  the  Season,"  a  much  later  production,  was  a 
lively  sketch  of  an  episode  in  fashionable  society. 

"  The  Two  Friends,"  a  novel  in  3  vols.,  was  published  by 
Saunders  and  Ottley  in  1835. 

"  The  Victims  of  Society,"  a  novel  in  3  vols.,  Saunders  and 
Ottley,  published  in  1837.  If  the  delineation  of  high  life  given 
in  this  work  be  correct,  the  experience  which  qualified  the  au 
thor  to  produce  such  a  performance  was  very  terrible.  If  it  be 
not  true,  the  wholesale  pulling-down  process,  the  utter  demoli 
tion  of  the  reputation  of  people  in  fashionable  society,  of  wom 
en  as  well  as  men,  in  this  work,  is  much  to  be  regretted. 

"  The  Confessions  of  an  Elderly  Lady,"  in  one  vol.,  Longman, 
1838. 

"The  Governess,"  a  novel  in  3  vols.,  Longman,  1839. 

"  Desultory  Thoughts  and  Reflections,"  in  one  thin  16mo  vol., 
appeared  in  1839,  published  by  Longman. 

"  The  Idler  in  Italy"  was  published  in  2  vols.  8vo,  Colburn,  in 
1839  ;  the  most  successful  and  interesting  of  all  the  works  of 
Lady  Blessington. 

"  The  Idler  in  France"  appeared  in  2  vols.  8vo,  Longman,  in 
1841. 

"  The  Lottery  of  Life,  and  other  Tales,"  in  3  vols.,  appeared 
in  1842. 

"  Strathcrn,  or  Life  at  Home  and  Abroad,"  a  story  of  the  pres 
ent  day.  This  novel  appeared  first  in  "  The  Sunday  Times  ;;' 
afterward  it  was  published  by  Colburn,  in  1845,  in  4  vols.  Be 
tween  the  two  publications,  Lady  Blessington  is  said  to  have 
realized  nearly  £600.  It  Avas  the  most  read  of  all  her  novels, 
as  she  imagined  ;  yet  the  publisher,  in  a  letter  to  Lady  Bless 
ington,  several  months  after  publishing,  complained  that  he  only 
sold  400  copies,  and  had  lost  X'40  by  the  publication,  and  that 
he  must  decline  a  new  work  proposed  by  her.  In  this  work, 
the  writer  drew,  as  in  her  other  novels,  her  illustrations  of  so 
ciety  frum  her  own  times  ;  and  her  opportunities  of  studying 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    221 

human  nature  in  a  great  variety  of  its  phases,  but  particularly 
in  what  is  called  "the  fashionable  world,"  afforded  her  ample 
means  of  giving  faithful  portraitures  of  its  society.  These  por 
traitures  in  •'  Strathern"  are  graphic,  vivid,  and  not  without  a 
dash  of  humor  and  sarcastic  drollery  in  her  delineation  of  fash 
ionable  life  at  home  and  abroad.  But  the  representation  is  cer 
tainly  not  only  exceedingly  unfavorable  to  the  class  she  puts  en 
scene  in  Rome,  Naples,  Paris,  and  London,  but  very  unpleasing 
on  the  whole,  though  often  amusing,  and  sometimes  instructive. 

In  "  The  Memoirs  of  a  Femme  de  Chambre,"  a  novel  in  3  vols., 
published  by  Colburn  and  Bentley  in  1846,  Lady  Blessington 
availed  herself  of  the  privileges  of  an  imaginary  servant-maid  to 
penetrate  the  inner  chambers  of  temples  of  fashion,  to  discover 
and  disclose  the  arena  of  aristocratic  life.  The  follies  and  foibles 
of  persons  in  high  life,  the  trials  and  heart-sicknesses  of  unfor 
tunate  governesses,  and  the  vicissitudes  in  the  career  of  ladies'- 
rnaids,  and,  in  particular,  in  that  of  one  famine  de  chambre,  who 
became  the  lady  of  a  bilious  nabob,  are  the  subjects  of  this  nov 
el,  written  writh  great  animation,  and  the  usual  piquancy  and 
liveliness  of  style  of  the  writer. 

"Lionel  Deerhurst,  or  Fashionable  Life  under  the  Regency," 
was  published  by  Bentley,  1846. 

"  Marrnaduke  Herbert,"  a  novel,  was  published  in  1847.  Of 
this  work,  a  very  eminent  litterateur  wrote  in  the  following  terms 
to  Lady  Blessington,  May  22d,  1847  : 

"  It  seems  to  rne,  in  many  respects,  the  best  book  you  have 
written.  I  object  to  some  of  the  details  connected  with  the 
'  fatal  error,'  but  the  management  of  its  effects  is  marked  by  a 
very  high  degree  of  power  ;  and  the  analytical  subtlety  and  skill 
displayed  throughout  the  book  struck  me  very  much. 

"  I  sincerely  and  warmly  congratulate  you  on  what  must  cer 
tainly  extend  your  reputation  as  a  writer." 

"  Country  Quarters,"  a  novel,  first  appeared  in  the  columns 
of  a  London  Sunday  paper  in  1848,  and  was  published  separ 
ately,  and  edited  by  Lady  Blessington's  niece,  Miss  Power,  aft 
er  her  ladyship's  death,  in  3  vols.  8vo,  Shoberl,  1850. 

"  Country  Quarters,"  the  last  production  of  Lady  Blessington, 


222    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

is  illustrative  of  a  state  of  society  and  of  scenes  in  real  life  in 
provincial  towns,  in  which  young  English  military  Lotharios  and 
tender-hearted  Irish  heroines,  speculative  and  sentimental,  are 
the  chief  performers,  for  the  delineation  of  which  Lady  Bless- 
ington  was  far  more  indebted  to  her  recollection  than  to  her  im 
agination.  There  is  no  evidence  of  exhausted  intellect  in  this 
last  work  of  Lady  Blessington's.  But  the  drollery  is  not  the  fun 
that  oozed  out  from  exuberant  vivacity  in  the  early  days  of  Lady 
Blessington's  authorship  ;  it  is  forced,  strained,  "  written  up"  tor 
occasion  ;  and  yet  there  is  an  air  of  cheerfulness  about  it,  which, 
to  one  knowing  the  state  of  mind  in  which  that  work  was  writ 
ten,  would  be  very  strange,  almost  incredible,  if  we  did  not  call 
to  mind  the  frame  of  mind  in  which  the  poem  of  John  Gilpin 
was  written  by  Cowper. 

The  literary  friends  of  Lady  Blessington  were  in  the  habit  of 
expressing  to  her  ladyship  their  opinions  on  her  performances 
as  they  appeared,  and  sometimes  of  making  very  useful  sugges 
tions  to  her. 

The  general  tone  of  opinions  addressed  to  authors  by  their 
friends,  must,  of  course,  be  expected  to  be  laudatory  ;  and  those, 
it  must  be  admitted,  of  many  of  Lady  Blessington's  friends  were 
no  exception  to  the  rule. 

Of  "  The  Repealers,"  a  very  distinguished  writer  thus  wrote 
to  the  authoress  : 

"  My  dear  Lady  Blessington,  I  have  read  your  'Repealers  ;' 
you  must  be  prepared  for  some  censure  of  its  politics.  I  have 
been  too  warm  a  friend  to  the  Coercive  Bill  to  sufler  so  formi 
dable  a  combatant  as  you  to  possess  the  field  without  a  chal 
lenge.  I  like  many  parts  of  your  book  much  ;  but — will  you  for 
give  me? — you  have  not  done  yourself  justice.  Your  haste  is 
not  evident  in  style,  which  is  pure,  fluent,  and  remarkably 
elegant,  but  in  the  slightness  of  the  story.  You  have  praised 
great  ladies  and  small  authors  too  much  ;  but  that  is  the  fault 
of  good  nature.  Let  your  next  book,  I  implore  you,  be  more  of 
passion,  of  sentiment,  and  of  high  character.  You  are  capable 
of  great  things,  of  beating  many  of  the  female  writers  of  the  day 
in  prose,  and  you  ought  to  task  your  powers  to  the  utmost ;  your 
genius  is  worthy  of  application. 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    223 

"  Forgive  all  this  frankness ;  it  is  from  one  who  admires  you 
too  much  not  to  be  sincere,  and  esteems  you  too  highly  to  fear 
that  you  will  be  offended  at  it." 

Another  eminent  literary  writer  writes  to  her  on  the  subject 
of  another  recent  production  of  hers  : 

"You  have  only  to  write  passions  instead  of  thoughts  in  order 
to  excel  in  novel  writing.  But  you  fear  too  much  ;  you  have  the 
prudes  before  you  ;  you  do  not  like  to  paint  the  passions  of  love, 
you  prefer  painting  its  sentiment.  The  awe  of  the  world  chills 
you.  But  perhaps  I  am  wrong,  and  in  '  The  Two  Friends'  I 
shall  find  you  giving  us  another  '  Corinne'  or  a  better  '  Admi 
ral's  Daughter,'  both  being  works  that  depend  solely  on  passion 
for  their  charm.  You  have  all  the  tact,  truth,  and  grace  of  De 
»Stael,  and  have  only  to  recollect  that  while  she  wrote  for  the 
world,  the  world  vanished  from  her  closet.  In  writing,  we 
should  see  nothing  before  us  but  our  own  wild  hearts,  our  own 
experience,  and  not  till  we  correct  proofs  should  we  remember 
that  we  are  to  have  readers." 

One  fully  authorized  to  speak  on  the  subject  of  authorship 
thus  writes  to  her  ladyship  on  the  appearance  of  a  recent  novel 
of  hers  : 

"  People  often  say  to  me,  I  shall  write  a  novel ;  if  I  question 
them  '  on  what  rule  ?'  they  state  they  know  of  no  rules.  They 
write  history,  epic,  the  drama,  criticism,  by  rules  ;  and  for  the 
novel,  which  comprises  all  four,  they  have  no  rules  ;  no  wonder 
that  there  is  so  much  of  talent  manque  in  half  the  books  we  read. 
In  fact,  we  ought  to  do  as  the  sculptors  do,  gaze  upon  all  the 
great  master-pieces  till  they  sink  into  us,  till  their  secrets  pene 
trate  us,  and  then  we  write  according  to  rules  without  being 
quite  aware  of  it. 

"  I  have  been  trying  to  read  some  fashionable  French  books. 
Sue  and  Balzac  seem  most  in  vogue,  but  the  task  is  too  heavy. 
Rant  run  mad,  and  called,  God  wot,  philosophy !  I  feel  as  if 
these  writers  had  taken  an  unfair  advantage  of  us,  and  their 
glittering  trash  makes  common  sense  too  plain  and  simple  to  be 
true." 

Of  "  The  Victims  of  Society,"  a  friendly  critic  writes  : 


224    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTOX. 

"  I  have  finished  the  whole  of  The  Victims  of  Society.'  The 
characters  are  drawn  with  admirable  tact  arid  precision,  and  a 
knowledge  of  human  nature  that  is  only  too  fine  for  the  obtuse. 
You  are,  indeed,  very  severe  in  the  second  volume,  more  so 
than  I  had  anticipated  ;  but  it  is  severe  truth,  finely  conceived, 
boldly  attempted,  and  consummately  executed.  \ou  have 
greatly  retrieved  and  fined  down  Miss  Montresor's  character  by 
her  touches  of  penitence  and  remorse.  Lord  C—  —  is  perfect. 

\V ,  an  English  dandy  throughout.  I  can  not  conceive  that 

you  have  any  thing  to  dread.  You  have  attacked  only  persons 
whom  the  general  world  like  to  hear  attacked  ;  the  few  who 
wince  will  pretend  not  to  understand  the  application." 

Of"  The  Idler  in  Italy,"  one  of  her  most  distinguished  friends 
says  : 

"  I  have  already  nearly  finished  the  two  volumes  of  '  The 
Idler  in  Italy,'  and  am  delighted  with  the  sparkling  and  grace 
ful  ease.  You  interest  us  in  every  thing,  even  in  the  '  bed  rest 
ing  on  pillar  swans,'  and  the  '  terrace  that  is  to  be  turned  into  a 
garden  :'  your  observations  on  men  and  things  are,  as  usual,  ex 
cellent.  All  the  account  of  the  Revolution  is  highly  animated 
and  original ;  I  am  sure  the  work  will  be  UNIVERSALLY  liked/' 

On  the  appearance  of  "  The  Two  Friends,"  Lady  Blessington 
received  the  following  notice  of  it  from  one  of  her  literary  ac 
quaintance  : 

"  I  have  just  finished  your  work,  '  The  Two  Friends,'  and  I 
may  congratulate  you  on  a  most  charming  publication,  which 
can  not  fail  to  please  universally,  and  to  increase  your  reputa 
tion.  It  is  true  that  there  is  nothing  exaggerated  in  it,  but  it  is 
written  in  a  thoroughly  good  tone  and  spirit,  very  elegant,  and 
sustained  with  great  knowledge  of  character,  many  dramatic 
situations,  abounding  with  profound  observations  and  much 
playful  wit.  The  happiest  and  newest  character  of  the  kind  I 
know  is  the  Count  de  Bethune.  He  is  admirable.  His  bearing 
his  griefs  like  '  a  man  and  a  Frenchman,'  his  seeing  to  his  din 
ner,  arid  reproving  his  daughter  1'or  her  want  of  feeling  in  dis 
turbing  his  digestion,  are  exquisite  traits  of  character,  and  re 
mind  us  of  the  delicate  touches  of  Manzoni  in  'I  Promessi  Sposi,' 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.     225 

Lord  Scamper  is  very  humorous,  and  I  laughed  heartily  at  some 
of  the  scenes  in  which  he  appears,  though  in  one  part  his  verisi 
militude  is  a  little  injured  by  your  making  him  talk  sense  about 
the  Revolution.  Your  politics  there,  by-the-by,  are  shockingly 
Tory,  and  will  please  Lord  Abinger.  There  are  some  beauti 
ful  discriminative  reflections,  not  dragged  in  per  force,  nor  te 
dious  and  extraneous,  but  natural  and  well  timed.  In  your 
story  you  have  improved  prodigiously  since  '  The  Repealers  ;'  it 
is  more  systematic  and  artful.  Altogether,  you  have  exceeded 
my  hopes,  and  may  reckon  here  on  complete  success.  Lady 
W  aimer  is  very  harsh,  but  a  very  true  portrait.  Cecile  is  charm 
ing,  and  pleases  me  more  than  Lady  Emily,  I  scarcely  know 
why.  The  only  fault  I  see  in  your  book  is,  that  it  is  a  little  too 
prudent.  But  perhaps  you  are  quite  right,  and  a  man  does  not 
allow  for  the  fears  of  a  woman  ;  at  all  events,  such  prudence 
will  make  you  more  popular.  There  is  no  doubt  of  your  having 
greatly  excelled  '  The  Repealers.'  ' 

Another  novel  of  her  ladyship's  called  forth  the  following  ob 
servations  from  another  quarter : 

"  I  have  received  your  book  ('  Marmaduke  Herbert'),  and  I 
must  candidly  tell  you  that  I  think  you  have  outdone  yourself  in 
this  most  interesting  and  effective  work.  It  has  a  grave,  sus 
tained  solemnity  of  power  about  it,  of  which  I  can  not  speak  too 
highly. 

"  It  reminds  me  greatly  of  Godwin's  earlier  writings.  The 
same  minute  and  faithful  analysis  of  feeling,  the  same  patience 
in  building  up  the  interest,  and  the  same  exhibition  of  strength 
and  weakness  in  one  motley  volume. 

"  I  did  not  think,  when  you  spoke  to  me  of  the  story  long  ago, 
that  you  could  have  made  so  fine  a  thing  of  it.  The  first  vol 
ume  and  a  half  are  extremely  thrilling,  and  without  effort." 

"  The  Belle  of  a  Season"  brought  several  letters  to  Lady 
Blessington.  The  following  one  is  most  deserving  of  being 
cited  : 

"  I  read  your  '  Belle  of  the  Season'  with  sincere  admiration  ; 
the  very  lightness  of  the  subject  makes  the  treatment  so  difficult, 
and  it  is  surprising  how  much  actual  interest  you  have  given  to 

K  <> 


926    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

the  story,  while  the  verification  is  so  skillful,  so  graceful  and 
easy,  as  to  be  a  model  in  its  way. 

"  I  was  charmed  from  the  first  few  lines,  and  indeed  the  open 
ing  of  the  story  is  one  of  the  happiest  parts. 

"  The  whole  partakes  of  the  character  of  the  subject,  and  is  a 
true  picture  of  what  a  London  season  is  to  a  young  lady — open- 
in0"  those  views  that  are  new  to  her  of  life  and  society.  A  Lon 
don  season  wears  different  faces  to  different  classes  ;  the  politi 
cian,  the  author,  the  actor,  the  artist,  the  tradesman,  the  pick 
pocket,  the  boy  who  wants  to  "  'old  your  'oss',  each  has  his  own 
London  season.  But  no  doubt  the  happiest  of  all,  for  a  year  or 
two,  is  the  young  lady's,  beginning  with  court,  and  ending 
with  a  fancy  ball,  to  say  nothing  of  the  declaration,  for  that  is 
the  drop  scene. 

"  Your  style  is  peculiarly  fluent  and  appropriate,  and  very  orig 
inal.  I  do  not  remember  any  specimen  of  the  '  Rambler'  like  it. 

"  I  then  went  from  poetry  to  prose,  arid  read  your  '  Govern 
ess.'  The  story  is  very  interesting,  and  the  character  of  the  poor 
child  so  exquisite  a  sketch,  that  I  regret  much  that  it  was  not 
more  elaborate  ;  it  alone  would  have  furnished  matter  for  three 
volumes.  The  Williamsons  are  extremely  well  hit  off',  and  so 
are  the  Manwarings  ;  the  poets,  and  characters  I  like  best,  are 
those  which  belong  to  what  is  now  the  popular  class  of  litera 
ture,  very  caricature.  To  this  class  I  think  the  Mondens,  and 
some  of  the  scenes  at  Mr.  V.  Robinson's,  belong.  But  they  are 
amusing,  and  will,  no  doubt,  please  generally. 

"  I  am  delighted  to  see  that  you  improve  and  mature  in  your 
charming  talent  with  every  new  work.  I  never  saw  a  more 
striking  improvement  in  any  writer  since  the  date,  not  a  long 
one,  of  the  '  Repealers.'  I  ought,  as  I  am  on  the  subject,  to  add 
how  much  I  was  struck  with  the  little  tale  of  the  Dreamer  ;  if 
a  very  few  lines,  a  little  too  English  arid  refined,  were  toned 
down  into  the  Irish  coloring  of  the  rest,  it  would  be  a  perfect 
gern  in  composition,  as  it  is  now  in  sentiment  and  conception." 

THE  ANNUALS. 
The  late  Frederick  Shoberl,  Esq.,  who  died  in  March,  1853. 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    227 

originated  in  1823,  in  conjunction  with  the  late  Mr.  Ackermann, 
the  first  of  the  English  annuals,  "  The  Forget-me-not."  For  sev 
eral  years  he  was  the  editor  of  it.  The  last  of  these  annuals 
was  the  volume  for  1834.  This  periodical  paved  the  way  for 
the  numerous  illustrated  works  that  have  since  issued  from  the 
press. 

These  luxuries  of  literature  were  got  up  especially  for  the  en 
tertainment  of  ladies  and  gentlemen  of  fashionable  circles,  but 
not  exclusively  for  the  elite  of  English  society.  The  tastes  of 
belles  and  beaux  of  the  boudoir  of  all  grades  aspiring  to  distinc 
tion  were  to  be  catered  for,  and  the  contributors,  in  general,  were 
sought  for  among  the  aristocracy,  not  in  the  republic  of  letters. 

It  was  necessary,  however,  to  enliven  a.  little  dullness  of  no 
ble  amateur  authorship  with  the  sparkling  gems  of  genius,  with 
more  regard  to  brilliancy  of  talent  than  to  advantages  of  ances 
try,  and  these  adventitious  aids  of  professional  literati  were  very 
largely  paid  for. 

In  1828,  Moore  makes  mention  of  the  editor  of  "  The  Keep 
sake"  offering  him  £600  for  120  lines  of  either  prose  or  poetry, 
which  he  declined. 

Persons  known  as  popular  writers  had  likewise  to  be  employ 
ed  as  editors  of  those  periodicals,  and  were  largely  paid  in  gen 
eral  ;  some  for  their  name  alone,  and  others  for  their  services. 

In  those  palmy  days  of  annual  periodicals,  when  the  name  of  a 
literary  notability  as  editor  was  so  important  to  success,  we  find 
"The  Scenic  Annual"  for  1838  edited  by  Thomas  Campbell. 

"  The  Keepsake"  for  1833  was  edited  by  F.  Mansel  Reynolds. 
The  contributors  were  the  Countess  of  Blessington,  Lord  Dover, 
Leitch  Ritchie,  Esq.,  John  Carne,  Esq.,  J.  H.  Louther,  Esq.,  M.P., 
Hon.  Grantley  Berkley,  Hon.  W.  Liddell,  Ralph  Bernal,  Esq., 
M.P.,  Lord  Morpeth,  James  Boaden,  Esq.,  Lord  Mahon,  Mrs.  C. 
Gore,  Colley  Grattan,  Esq.,  Mrs.  Shelley,  Hon.  H.  Craddock,  au 
thor  of  "  Hajji  Baba  ;"  Archdeacon  Spencer,  Miss  L.  E.  Landon, 
&c.,  &c. 

"The  Court  Journal"  for  1833  was  edited  by  the  Hon.  Mrs. 
Norton. 

"  Heath's  Book  of  Beauty"  for  the  same  year  was  edited  by 
L.  E.  L. 


228    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

"  Portraits  of  the  Children  of  the  Nobility"  was  edited  by  Mrs. 
Fairlee  in  1838,  and  in  the  same  year,  "The  Picturesque  An 
nual"  by  Lcitch  Ritchie. 

Fisher's  "Drawing-Room  Scrap-Book"  for  1838  was  edited 
by  L.  E.  L. 

"  Flowers  of  Loveliness,"  with  poetical  illustrations  by  L.  E.  L., 
also  appeared  the  same  year. 

Finden's  "  Tableaux ;  or,  Picturesque  Scenes  of  National  Char 
acter,  Beauty,  and  Costume,"  edited  by  Mary  Russell  Mitford, 
was  published  in  1838.  The  poetical  contributions  were  by  Mr. 
Kenyon,  Mr.  Chorley,  and  Barry  Cornwall. 

The  greatest  and  first  promoter,  in  his  day,  of  illustrated  an^ 
nuals,  was  Mr.  (Jharles  Heath. 

This  eminent  engraver  was  the  son  of  Mr.  James  Heath,  q, 
distinguished  artist  also,  whose  engravings  have  been  the  stud 
ies  on  which  the  two  Findens  are  said  to  have  employed  days 
and  nights. 

The  success  of  the  Findens  in  working  for  the  booksellers  in 
the  illustration  of  periodicals  and  popular  publications  did  not 
satisfy  themselves.  They  became  the  publishers  of  their  own 
works,  and  the  works  of  those  whose  productions  were  illustrated 
by  them.  Their  Byron  Illustrations  turned  out  advantageous, 
but  in  their  other  speculations  they  were  less  fortunate.  Mr. 
William  Finden's  "  Gallery  of  British  Art"  proved  a  ruinous  un 
dertaking  ;  he  died  in  very  poor  circumstances,  September  20, 
1852,  in  his  sixty-fifth  year. 

Mr.  Charles  Heath  had,  like  the  Findens,  entered  on  the  pub 
lication  of  periodicals  illustrated  by  him,  and  with  the  same  un 
fortunate  result.  He  excelled  in  small  plates,  and  in  his  hands 
that  sort  of  artistic  talent  exhibited  in  the  embellishment  of  an 
nuals  reached  its  greatest  perfection. 

Heath's  "  Book  of  Beauty"  for  1834,  edited  by  the  Countess 
of  Blessirigton,  contained  nine  pieces  by  her  ladyship.  The  fol 
lowing  are  the  contents  of  this  volume,  and  the  names  or  signa 
tures  of  the  authors  : 

1.  The  Choice  of  Phylias,  a  tale.      Sir  E.  L.  B. 

2.  Francesca,  a  poem.     Dr.  William  Beattie. 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    229 

3.  Margaret  Carnegie,  a  tale.     Viscount  Castlereagh. 

4.  The  Phantom  Guest,  a  poem.     Anonymous. 

5.  Mary  Lester,  a  tale.     Countess  of  Blessington. 

6.  To  a  Jasmine  Tree,  lines.     Viscount  Morpeth. 

7.  Amy,  lines.      Countess  of  Blessington. 

8.  The  Friends,  a  tale.     Henry  Lytton  Bulwer,  Esq.,  M.P. 

9.  On  the  Portrait  of  Lady  C.  A.  W,  Villiers,  lines.     Lady  E. 

S.Wortley. 

10.  An  Irish  Fairy  Fable,  a  tale.     Mrs.  »S.  C.  Hall. 

11.  Pho3be,  or  my  Grandmamma  West,  lines.     James  Smith. 

12.  Imaginary    Conversations,    Rhadamistus    and    Zeiiobia. 

W.  S.  Landor. 

13.  To  Memory,  stanzas.     The  Countess  of  Blessington. 

14.  The  Desert,  lines.     John  Gait,  Esq. 

15.  Bianca  Vanezzi,  lines.     Dudley  West,  Esq. 

16.  Rosalie,  lines.     Countess  of  Blessington. 

17.  Epochs,  lines.     H.  L.  Bulwer,  Esq. 

18.  Imaginary   Conversations,  Philip  II.   and  Donna  Juana 

Coelho.     W.  8.  Landor. 

19.  The  Coquette,  a  tale.     The  Countess  of  Blessington. 

20.  The  Deserted  Wife,  lines.     R.  Bernal,  Esq.,  M.P. 

21.  Farewell  forever,  lines.     J.  H.  Lowther,  Esq. 

22.  The  Bay  of  Naples  in  the  summer  of  1824,  a  sketch. 

The  Countess  of  Blessington. 

23.  To  Matilda  sketching,  lines.     The   Countess    of  Bless 

ington. 

24.  Rebecca,  a  tale.     Anonymous. 

25.  To  Lucy  reading,  lines.     The  Countess  of  Blessington. 

26.  What  art  thou,  life  ?  stanzas.     Idem. 

As  one  of  the  most  favorable  specimens  of  those  illustrated 
works,  the  following  notice  of  "  the  Book  of  Beauty"  for  1835, 
under  the  editorship  of  Lady  Blessington,  may  not  be  out  of 
place.  The  principal  beautiful  celebrities  of  whom  engraved 
portraits  are  given  in  this  volume  are  "  The  Marchioness  of 
Abercorri,"  by  E.  Landseer  ;  "  Lucilla,"  by  Parris  ;  "  jNTourma- 
hal,"  by  Meadows  ;  "  Habiba,"  by  Chalon.  The  gem  of  the  vol 
ume  is  "  Juliet,"  by  Bostock. 


230    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

Among  the  contributors  we  find  the  distinguished  literary 
names  of  Viscount  Strangford,  Sir  William  Gell,  E.  L.  Bulwer, 
31. P.,  Lord  Nugent,  the  Hon.  K.  R.  Craven,  Lady  Emmeline  S. 
Wortley,  Lord  Albert  Conyngham,  R.  Bernal,  M.P.,  Lady  Char 
lotte  Bury,  Lord  William  Lennox,  Miss  Louisa  H.  Sheridan,  H. 
L.  Bulwer,  M.P.,  Sir  Aubrey  de  Yere,  Bart.,  Hon.  G.  Berkely, 
Hon.  J.  Lester,  Sir  William  Somerville,  Bart.,  Hon.  K.  Talbot, 
Mr.  Sergeant  Talfourd,  M.P.,  &c.,  &c. 

The  fair  editress  contributed  a  lively  and  graceful  illustration 
of  an  excellent  plate,  named  "  Felicite,"  by  M'Clise,  represent 
ing  a  pretty  pert  lady's  maid  trying  on  a  fine  dress  before  the 
glass,  and  looking  perfectly  satisfied  with  the  result. 

FELICITE. 

BY  THE  COUNTESS  OF  BLESSINGTON. 

"  Oh  !  would  I  were  a  lady, 
In  costly  silks  to  shine  ; 
Who  then  could  stand  beside  me '! 
What  figure  match  with  mine  I 

"  Who'd  rave  about  my  mistress, 

With  her  pale  and  languid  face, 
If  they  could  see  my  pink  cheeks, 
Edged  round  with  Brussels  lace  ! 

"  How  well  her  cap  becomes  me  ! 

With  what  a  jaunty  air 
I've  placed  it  oft' my  forehead, 
To  show  my  shining  hair ! 

"  And  I  declare,  these  ribands 

Just  suit  me  to  a  shade  ; 
If  Mr.  John  could  see  me, 
My  fortune  would  be  made. 

"  Nay,  look  !  her  bracelets  fit  me, 

Though  just  the  least  too  tight ; 
To  wear  what  costs  so  much,  must 
Afford  one  great  delight. 

"  And  then  this  pretty  apron, 

So  bowed,  and  frill'd  and  laced — 
I  hate  it  on  my  mistress, 

Though  well  it  shows  my  waist. 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    231 

"  I  must  run  down  one  minute, 

That  Mr.  John  may  see 
How  silks,  and  lace,  and  ribands 
Set  off  a  girl  like  me. 

"  Yet  all  of  these  together, 

Ay,  pearls  and  diamonds  too, 
Would  fail  to  make  most  ladies  look 
As  well  as — I  know  who." 

Another  of  these  periodicals,  edited  by  her  ladyship  from  1835 
to  1840,  was  entitled  "  Gems  of  Beauty,  designs  by  E.  T.  Parris, 
Esq.,  with  fanciful  illustrations  in  verse  by  the  Countess  of 
Blessington." 

Her  ladyship  was  gifted  with  a  great  facility  for  versification  ; 
poetry  of  a  high  order  hers  certainly  was  not.  But  she  could 
throw  great  vivacity,  much  humor,  and  some  pathos  into  her 
v ers  de  societe,  and  many  of  her  small  published  pieces  in  verse 
were  quite  equal  to  the  ordinary  run  of  "  bouts  rhymees"  in  the 
literature  of  annuals,  and  some  far  superior  to  them.  But  it 
must  be  observed,  Lady  Blessington's  poetry  derived  consider 
able  advantage  from  the  critical  care,  supervision,  and  correc 
tion  of  very  eminent  literary  men,  some  certainly  the  most  emi 
nent  of  their  day.  Of  this  fact  there  are  many  evidences,  and 
some  proofs  of  extensive  services  of  this  sort. 

"  The  Book  of  Beauty  for  1843,"  edited  by  the  Countess  of 
Blessington,  contained  only  two  pieces  by  her  ladyship. 

1.  On  a  Picture  of  Her  Majesty  and  Children,  lines.    Dr.  W. 

Beattie. 

2.  An  Episode  in  Life,  a  tale.      Sir  E.  L.  Bulwer,  Bart. 

3.  On  Portrait  of  Princess  Esterhazy,  lines.     Countess  of 

Blessington. 

4.  Love,  lines.     Mrs.  Edward  Thomas. 

5.  To ,  lines.     A.  Baillie  Cochrane,  Esq.,  M.P. 

6.  Inez  de  Castro,  a  sketch.     Lord  William  Lennox. 

7.  Mens  Divinior,  lines.     Barry  Cornwall. 

8.  On  Portrait  of  Mrs.  Craven,  lines.     Anonymous. 

9.  Medora,  a  fragment.     C.  G.  H. 

10.  On  Portrait  of  Mrs.  Kynaston,  lines.     Anonymous. 


232    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESS1NGTON. 

11.  Ministering  Angels,  lines.     Adelaide. 

12.  Poets  die  in  Autumn,  lines.     Mrs.  C.  B.  Wilson. 

13.  A  sketch  in  the  Tuilleries.     Hon.  George  Smythe,  Esq. 

14.  On  the  25th  of  January,  1842.,  lines.    Lord  John  Manners. 

15.  The  Venetian  Glass,  a  tale.     Baroness  de  Calabrella. 

16.  On  Portrait  of  Miss  Dormer,  lines.     Miss  Power. 

17.  In  Midland  Ocean,  a  sketch.     B.  D 'Israeli,  Esq.,  M.P. 

18.  William  of  Ripperda,  lines.     Anonymous. 

19.  Third  Imaginary  Letter,  Earl  of  Chesterfield  to  his  daugh 

ter.     Viscount  Powerscourt. 

20.  The  Fairy  Ring,  lines.     Miss  A.  Savage. 

21.  On  Portrait  of  Miss  Meyer,  lines.     Miss  Power. 

22.  The  Two  Flowers,  lines.     Miss  M.  H.  Acton. 

23.  Rail-roads  and  Steam-boats,  a  sketch.    Lady  Blessington. 

24.  On  the  Civic  Statue  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  Latin  lines. 

Marquis  Wellesley. 

25.  On  Portrait  of  the  Hon.  Mrs.  Spalding.    A.  H.  Plunkett. 

26.  Ye  Gentlemen  of  England.      Sir  J.  Hanmer,  Bart.,  M.P. 

27.  Her  I  dearly  love,  lines.     R.  Bernal,  Esq.,  M.P. 

28.  The  Teacher,  a  sketch.     Mrs.  S.  C.  Hall. 

29.  Ellen,  a  tale.     Major  Mundy. 

30.  The  Great  Oak,  lines.     Lord  Leigh. 

31.  Night  breezes,  lines.     Miss  Ellen  Power. 

32.  Death,  song.     Lady  Emmeline  Stuart  Wortley. 

33.  Edward  Clinton,  a  tale.     Sir  Hesketh  Fletwood,  Bart. 

34.  On  Portrait  of  Mrs.  C.  Coape.     Anonymous. 

35.  A  Children's  Fancy  Ball,  lines.     Lady  Stepney. 

36.  Imaginary  Conversation,  Vittoria  Colonna  and  M.  A.  Bu- 

onarotti,  by  W.  S.  Landor. 

37.  On  Portrait  of  Mrs.  Burr,  lines.     Camilla  Toulmin. 

38.  To  Leonora,  lines.     Mrs.  Torre  Holme. 

39.  Can  I  e'er  cease  to  love  thec  ?  lines.     J .  D'Oyley,  Esq. 

40.  Gratitude,  a  sketch.     Captain  Marry att. 

41.  On  the  launching  of  a  Yacht,  lines.     Richard  Johns,  Esq. 

42.  Morna,  Adieu,  lines.     Hon.  Grantley  F.  Berkeley,  M.P. 

43.  Claudia,  a  tale.     Virginia  Murray. 

44.  On  Portrait  of  Miss  Bcllew,  lines.     A.  Hume  Plunkett. 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    233 

45.  Yes,  peace  should  be  there,  lines.     A.  H.  T. 

46.  The  Stone-cutter  Boy,  a  sketch.     Miss  Grace  Aguilar. 

47.  The  Closed  Gate,  lines.     Marchioness  of  Hastings. 

48.  I  love  the  Oak,  lines.     Sir  W.  Somerville,  Bart.,  M.P. 

49.  Lines  on  Portrait  of  Mrs.  G.  "Wingfield.     Miss  Power. 

50.  The  two  Soldiers,  a  sketch.     Barry  Cornwall. 

51.  The  Song  of  a  Bird,  lines  to  Miss  E.  Power.  Anonymous. 

52.  Sleeping  and  waking  Dreams,  lines.     Mrs.  Abdy. 

53.  An  agreeable  Tete-a-tete,  sketch.     Isabella  F.  Homer. 

54.  Field  Flowers,  lines.     Miss  E.  Scaife. 

For  several  years  Lady  Blessington  continued  to  edit  both  pe 
riodicals,  "  the  Keepsake"  and  "  the  Book  of  Beauty."  This  oc 
cupation  brought  her  into  contact  with  almost  every  literary 
man  of  eminence  in  the  kingdom,  or  of  any  foreign  country,  who 
visited  England.  It  involved  her  in  enormous  expense,  far  be 
yond  any  amount  of  remuneration  derived  from  the  labor  of  ed 
iting  those  works.  It  made  a  necessity  for  entertaining  contin 
ually  persons  to  whom  she  looked  for  contributions,  or  from  whom 
she  had  received  assistance  of  that  kind.  It  involved  her,  more 
over,  in  all  the  drudgery  of  authorship,  in  all  the  turmoil  of  con 
tentions  with  publishers,  communications  with  artists,  and  never- 
ending  correspondence  with  contributors.  In  a  word,  it  made 
her  life  miserable. 

In  1848,  Heath  died  in  insolvent  circumstances,  heavily  in 
debt  to  Lady  Blessington,  to  the  extent  nearly  of  £700.  His 
failure  had  taken  place  six  or  seven  years  previously.  From 
that  time  the  prosperity  of  the  annuals  was  on  the  wane,  and 
Lady  Blessington's  receipts  from  them  became  greatly  reduced. 
The  prices  she  received  for  her  novels  had  likewise  been  much 
diminished.  In  fact,  of  late  years  it  was  with  the  utmost  diffi 
culty  she  could  get  a  publisher  to  undertake,  at  his  own  risk,  the 
publication  of  a  work  of  hers. 

The  public  were  surfeited  with  illustrated  annuals.  The  taste 
for  that  species  of  literature  had  died  out.  The  perpetual  glori 
fication  even  of  beauty  had  become  a  bore.  The  periodical  pas- 
ans  sung  in  honor  of  the  children  of  the  nobility  ceased  to  be 
amusing.  Lords,  and  ladies,  and  right  honorables,  ready  to  write 


034    NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

on  any  subject  at  the  command  of  fashionable  editors  and  ed 
itresses,  there  was  no  dearth  of,  but  readers  were  not  to  be  had 
at  length  for  love  or  money. 

When  Lady  Blessing-ton's  income  from  the  annuals  and  her 
novels  began  to  fall  off  largely,  she  hoped  to  be  able  to  derive 
.some  emolument  from  other  sources. 

In  1845,  a  newspaper  project  on  a  grand  scale  was  entered 
into  by  the  eminent  printers,  Messrs.  Bradbury  and  Evans,  with 
the  co-operation  of  some  of  the  most  distinguished  literary  men 
of  England.  The  "  Daily  News"  was  established,  and  the  lit 
erary  services  of  Lady  Blessington  were  solicited  for  it  in  Jan 
uary,  1846.  Her  ladyship  was  to  contribute,  in  confidence,  "  any 
sort  of  intelligence  she  might  like  to  communicate,  of  the  say 
ings,  doings,  memoirs,  or  movements  in  the  fashionable  world." 
Her  contributions  were  supposed  to  consist  of  what  is  called 
"  Exclusive  Intelligence." 

Lady  Blessington  estimated  the  value  of  the  services  required 
of  her  at  £800  per  annum  ;  the  managers,  however,  considered 
the  amount  more  than  could  be  well  devoted  to  that  branch  of 
intelligence.  They  proposed  an  arrangement  at  the  rate  of 
.£500  a  year  for  the  term  of  half  a  year,  but  at  the  rate  of  .£400 
a  year  for  a  year  certain  ;  and  the  arrangement  was  carried 
into  effect. 

In  May,  1846,  Lady  Blessington  wrote  to  the  managers,  stat 
ing  "  it  was  not  her  intention  to  renew  her  engagement  with 
the  'Daily  News.'" 

The  sum  of  jC250  for  six  months'  services  was  duly  paid  by 
the  proprietors. 

Mr.  Dickens  retired  from  the  management  of  the  paper  in 
July,  1846,  and  was  replaced  by  Mr.  Forster,  who  gave  up  the 
management  in  November  following.* 

*  There  are  some  observations  that  have  reference  to  the  writings  of  Forster 
and  Dickens,  in  a  letter  of  Lady  Blessington  on  literary  subjects,  addressed  to  a 
very  dear  friend  and  a  very  distinguished  writer,  which  are  deserving  of  notice. 

"  I  have  read  with  delight  the  article  of  F on  the  '  Life  of  Churchill.'     It 

is  the  most  masterly  review  I  ever  read,  and  places  Churchill  in  a  so  much  better 
point  of  view  as  to  excite  a  sympathy  for  him.  Every  one  is  speaking  of  this  re 
view.  All  the  papers  have  taken  it  up.  It  is  generally  attributed  to  Macaulay, 


NOTICES  OF  THE  WRITINGS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    235 

Mr.  Jerdan,  formerly  editor  of  the  "  Literary  Gazette,"  who 
was  intimately  acquainted  with  the  publishing  affairs  of  Lady 
Blessington,  thus  speaks  in  his  "  Autobiography"  of  the  income 
she  derived  from  her  literary  labors  : 

"  As  an  author  and  editor  of  '  Heath's  Annual'  for  some  years, 
Lady  Blessington  received  considerable  sums.  I  have  known 
her  to  enjoy  from  her  pen  an  amount  somewhere  midway  be 
tween  £2000  and  £3000  per  annum,  and  her  title,  as  well  as 
talents,  had  considerable  influence  in  '  ruling  high  prices,'  as 
they  say  in  Mark  Lane  and  other  markets.  To  this,  also,  her 
well-arranged  parties  with  a  publisher  now  and  then,  to  meet 
folks  of  a  style  unusual  to  men  in  business,  contributed  their  at 
tractions  ;  arid  the  same  society  was  in  reality  of  solid  value  to 
ward  the  production  of  such  publications  as  the  annuals,  the  con 
tents  of  which  were  provided  by  the  editor  almost  entirely  from 
the  pens  of  private  friends,  instead  of  being  dearly  bought  from 
the  '  Balaam'  refuse  of  celebrated  writers." 

On  this  subject  Miss  Power  says  : 

"  I  never  heard  her  say  the  exact  amount  of  her  literary  prof 
its  any  particular  year.  I  believe  that  for  some  years  she  made, 
on  an  average,  somewhat  about  a  thousand  a  year;  some  years 
a  good  deal  above  that  sum." 

WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS  AND  OBSERVATIONS  ;  OR,  ODDS  AND 
ENDS  OF  IMPRESSIONS  AND  REFLECTIONS,  FROM  LADY  BLESSING- 
TON'S  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS,  VERSES,  AND  MEMORANDA,  IN  COMMON 
PLACE  BOOKS. 

Lady  Blessington  was  in  the  habit  for  some  time  of  writing 

and  is  said  to  be  the  best  of  his  articles.  F has  crushed  Tooke  by  the  dex 
trous  exposure  of  his  mistakes,  ignorance,  and  want  of  comprehension.  I  assure 
you  that  Count  D'Orsay  and  I  are  as  proud  of  the  praises  we  hear  of  this  article 

on  every  side,  as  if  we  had  ti  share  in  it.     F 's  notice  of  '  The  Chimes'  is 

perfect.  It  takes  the  high  tone  it  ought  for  that  book,  and  ought  to  make  those 
ashamed  who  cavil  because  its  great  author  had  a  nobler  task  in  view  than  writ 
ing  to  amuse  Sybarites,  who  do  not  like  to  have  their  selfish  pleasures  disturbed 
by  hearing  of  the  miseries  of  the  poor.  You  will  smile  to  see  me  defending  our 
friend  Mr.  Dickens  from  charges  of  wishing  to  degrade  the  aristocracy.  I  really 
have  no  patience  with  such  stupidity.  I  now  clearly  perceive  that  the  reading 
world  of  a  certain  class  imagine  that  an  author  ought  to  have  no  higher  aim  than 
their  amusement,  and  they  account  as  a  personal  insult  any  attempt  to  instruct 
them." 


236  WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

down  her  thoughts  and  observations  at  the  close  of  every  day, 
after  she  retired  from  her  drawing-room,  and  the  book  in  which 
this  record  was  made  of  her  reflections  on  the  passing  events  of 
the  day,  the  conversations  of  the  evening,  the  subjects  of  her 
reading  or  research,  she  called  her  "  Night  Book."  The  earliest 
of  these  books  commences  with  an  entry  of  the  21st  of  March, 
1834  ;  the  second  of  them  with  the  year  alone,  1835. 

The  following  extracts  from  these  books,  in  which  the  pensees 
are  given  as  they  were  written  (word  for  word,  and  signed  with 
the  initials  M.  B.),  will  clearly  show  that  her  ladyship's  exten 
sive  acquaintance  with  society,  her  quickness  of  perception,  acu 
men,  and  felicitous  mode  of  compressing  her  ideas,  and  giving 
expression  to  them  in  laconic,  piquant,  and  precise  terms,  ena 
bled  her  to  give  an  epigrammatic  turn  to  sentiments,  which 
could  only  be  similarly  done  by  one  thoroughly  conversant  with 
the  writings  of  Rochefoucault  and  Montaigne. 

The  reader  will  hardly  fail  to  notice  in  these  pensees  evident 
relationship  between  the  ideas  of  many  cynics  of  celebrity  of 
France,  the  images  too  of  several  of  our  own  most  popular  poet 
ical  writers,  and  the  smart  short  sayings  of  her  ladyship,  with 
all  the  air  of  originality,  neatness  of  attire,  and  graceful  liveli 
ness  of  language  which  she  has  given  them. 

But  the  "  Night  Book"  gives  only  a  very  poor  and  inadequate 
idea  of  the  thoughts  which  were  productive  of  such  effect,  when 
given  expression  to  by  her  ladyship  with  all  that  peculiar  charm 
of  naivete,  natural  turn  for  irony,  admirable  facility  of  expression, 
clearness  of  intonation  and  distinctness  of  enunciation,  joyous- 
ness  of  spirits,  beaming  in  those  beautiful  features  of  hers  (when 
lit  up  by  animated  conversation,  the  consciousness  of  the  pres 
ence  of  genius,  and  contact  with  exalted  intellect),  that  sponta 
neous  outpouring  of  felicitous  thoughts  and  racy  observations, 
ever  accompanied  with  an  exuberant  good  humor,  often  supply 
ing  the  place  of  wit,  but  never  degenerating  into  coarseness  or 
vulgarity,  which  characterized  her  conversational  powers,  and, 
in  fact,  constituted  the  chief  fascination  of  her  society 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    237 


GENIUS    AND    TALENT. 

"  Genius  is  the  gold  in  the  mine,  talent  is  the  miner  who 
works  and  brings  it  out." 

"  Genius  may  be  said  to  reside  in  an  illuminated  palace  of 
crystal,  unapproachable  to  other  men,  which,  while  it  displays 
the  brightness  of  its  inhabitant,  renders  also  any  blemishes  in 
her  form  more  visible  by  the  surrounding  light,  while  men  of 
ordinary  minds  dwell  in  opaque  residences,  in  which  no  ray  of 
brightness  displays  the  faults  of  ignoble  mediocrity." 

TALENT. 

"  Talent,  like  beauty,  to  be  pardoned,  must  be  obscure  and 
unostentatious." 

GREAT    INTELLECTUAL    POWERS. 

"  In  many  minds,  great  powers  of  thinking  slumber  on  through 
life,  because  they  never  have  been  startled  by  any  incident  cal 
culated  to  take  them  out  of  the  common  routine  of  every-day 
occurrence." 

CLEVER    WOMEN    ENVIED. 

"  It  is  less  difficult,  we  are  told  by  Brissot,  for  a  woman  to 
obtain  celebrity  by  her  genius  than  to  be  pardoned  for  it." 

EFFECTS    OF    CONTACT    WITH    GENIUS. 

"  It  is  doubtful  whether  we  derive  much  advantage  from  a 
constant  intercourse  with  superior  minds.  If  our  own  be  of 
equal  calibre,  the  contact  is  likely  to  excite  the  mind  into  ac 
tion,  and  original  thoughts  are  often  struck  out ;  but  if  any  in 
feriority  exists,  the  inferior  mind  is  quelled  by  the  superior,  or 
loses  whatever  originality  it  might  have  possessed  by  uncon 
sciously  adopting  the  opinions  and  thoughts  of  the  superior  in 
telligence." 

LITERATURE  AND  LITERATI. 

"  On  reading  a  work,  of  how  many  faults  do  we  accuse  the 


238  WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

author  when  they  are  only  to  be  found  in  ourselves.  If  the 
story  is  melancholy,  and  yet  we  feel  not  the  sadness  of  it,  we 
lay  the  blame  of  our  insensibility  on  the  author's  want  of  pathos. 
If  it  be  gay,  and  yet  it  fails  to  amuse  us,  we  call  in  question  the 
writer's  want  of  power." 

JUDGMENT    OF    BOOKS. 

"  The  frame  of  mind  in  which  we  read  a  work  often  influ 
ences  our  judgment  upon  it.  That  which  for  the  moment  pre 
dominates  in  our  minds  colors  all  that  we  read  :  and  we  are  aft 
erward  surprised,  on  a  reperusal  of  works  of  this  kind,  under 
other  circumstances  and  with  different  feelings,  to  find  no  lon 
ger  the  merit  we  formerly  attributed  to  them." 

SUPPOSED     CORRESPONDENCE     BETWEEN     THE     WRITINGS     OF    AU 
THORS    AND    THEIR    LIVES. 

"  The  world  is  given  to  indulge  in  the  very  erroneous  supposi 
tion  that  there  exists  an  identity  between  the  writings  of  au 
thors  and  their  actual  lives  and  characters. 

"  Men  are  the  slaves  of  circumstances  in  the  mass  ;  but  men 
of  genius,  from  the  excitability  of  their  temperament,  are  pecu 
liarly  acted  on  by  surrounding  influences.  How  many  of  them, 
panting  after  solitude,  are  compelled  to  drag  on  existence  in 
crowded  cities,  and  how  many  of  them,  sighing  for  the  excite 
ment  of  busy  life,  and  the  friction  of  exalted  intelligence  with 
kindred  intellect,  pass  their  lives  in  retirement,  because  circum 
stances,  which  they  were  too  indolent  or  too  feeble  to  control, 
had  thrown  them  into  it.  Such  men  in  their  writings  will  have 
the  natural  bias  of  their  feelings  and  tastes  frequently  mistaken 
by  those  around  them.  The  world  judges  falsely  when  it  forms 
an  estimate  of  an  author  from  the  life  of  the  man,  and  the  life 
and  conduct  of  the  man  from  the  writings  of  the  author,  and 
finding  discrepancies  between  them,  may  often  bring  forward 
accusations  of  insincerity,  making  comparisons  between  their 
works  and  lives." 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    339 
POETS    AND    POETRY. 

"  Poets  make  a  book  of  nature,  wherein  they  read  lessons  un 
known  to  other  minds,  even  as  astronomers  make  a  book  of  the 
heavens,  and  read  therein  the  movements  of  the  planets. 

"  The  poetry  in  our  souls  is  like  our  religion,  kept  apart  from 
our  every-day  thoughts,  and,  alas  !  neither  influence  us  as  they 
ought.  We  should  be  wiser  and  happier  (for  wisdom  is  happi 
ness)  if  their  harmonizing  effects  were  permitted  more  to  per 
vade  our  being." 

WIT    AND    CENSORIOUSNESS. 

"  Half  the  reputations  for  wit  that  pass  current  in  fashionable 
life  are  based  on  ill-natured  sayings  of  persons  who  would  have 
found  it  difficult  to  have  obtained  any  notice  in  society,  except 
by  censorious  observations  ;  they  are  of  the  class  of  whom 
mention  is  made  in  the  French  verse  : 

"  '  S'il  n'eut  mal  parle  do  personne 
On  n'eut  jamais  parle  de  lui.'  " 

PLAIN-SPEAKING    GENTLEMEN. 

"  Your  plain  speakers  are  usually  either  of  obtuse  intellect  or 
ill-natured  dispositions,  wounding  the  feelings  of  others  from 
want  of  delicacy  of  mind  and  sensibility,  or  from  intentional 
malice.  They  deserve  to  be  expelled  from  the  society  of  en 
lightened  people,  because  they  are  likely  to  give  annoyance  to 
all  who  are  not  of  their  own  level  in  it." 

MISCELLANEOUS     THOUGHTS. 

';  Borrowed  thoughts,  like  borrowed  money,  only  show  the 
poverty  of  the  borrower." 

"  A  poor  man  defended  himself  when  charged  with  stealing 
food  to  appease  the  cravings  of  hunger,  saying,  the  cries  of  the 
stomach  silenced  those  of  the  conscience." 

"  A  woman  should  not  paint  sentiment  till  she  has  ceased  to 
inspire  it.5' 


240  WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

"  A  woman's  head  is  always  influenced  by  her  heart,  but  a 
man's  heart  is  always  influenced  by  his  head. 

"  Catherine  the  First  of  Russia  was  called  the  mother  of  her 
people  ;  Catherine  the  Second,  with  equal  justice,  might  be  de 
nominated  the  wife." 

"  Memory  seldom  fails  when  its  office  is  to  show  us  the 
tombs  of  our  buried  hopes."* 

"  It  would  be  well  if  virtue  was  never  seen  unaccompanied 
by  charity,  nor  vice  divested  of  that  grossness  which  displays  it 
in  its  most  disgusting  form,  for  the  examples  of  both  would  then 
be  more  beneficial." 

"  Some  good  qualities  are  not  unfrequently  created  by  the  be 
lief  of  their  existence,  for  men  are  generally  anxious  to  justify 
the  good  opinion  entertained  of  them." 

THE    WORST    OF    SEPARATIONS. 

"  The  separation  of  friends  by  death  is  less  terrible  than  the 
divorce  of  two  hearts  that  have  loved,  but  have  ceased  to  sym 
pathize,  while  memory  is  still  recalling  what  they  once  were 
to  each  other." 

ENGLISH    RESERVE. 

"  Distrust  is  the  most  remarkable  characteristic  of  the  English 
of  the  present  day.  None  but  the  acknowledged  wealthy  are 
exempted  from  the  suspicions  of  our  society.  The  good,  the 
wise,  the  talented,  are  subject  to  the  scrutinizing  glances  of  this 
policy  of  suspicion  ;  and  those  by  whom  it  is  carried  out  sel 
dom  fail  to  discover  cause  of  distrust  and  avoidance  in  all  that 
they  will  not  or  can  not  comprehend.  But  on  the  poor  their 
suspicions  fall,  if  not  with  all  their  malice,  at  least  with  all 
their  uncharitableness.  Hence  they  are  shunned,  and  regarded 

*  Young's  ideas  sometimes  furnish  the  mail  or  of  Lady  Blcssington's  "Night 
Thoughts." 

"  Thought— busy  thought— too  busy  for  my  peace, 
Through  the  dark  postern  of  Time  long  elapsed, 
Led  softly  by  the  stillness  of  the  night- 
Led  like  a  murderer — 

Meets  the  ghosts  ^ 

Of  my  departed  joys." 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    241 

as  dangerous  or  doubtful  neighbors  by  the  sons  and  daughters 
of  prosperity." 

WORLDLY   WISDOM,  SOCIETY,   ETC. 

"  Society  seldom  forgives  those  who  have  discovered  the  emp 
tiness  of  its  pleasures,  and  who  can  live  independent  of  it  and 
them." 

"  Great  men  direct  the  events  of  their  times  ;  wise  men  take 
advantage  of  them  ;  weak  men  are  borne  down  by  them." 

"  In  the  society  of  persons  of  mediocrity  of  intellect,  a  clever 
man  will  appear  to  have  less  esprit  than  those  around  him  who 
possess  least,  because  he  is  displaced  in  their  company." 

"  Those  who  are  formed  to  win  general  admiration  are  seldom 
calculated  to  bestow  individual  happiness." 

"  Half  the  ill-natured  things  that  are  said  in  society  are  spo 
ken,  not  so  much  from  malice  as  from  a  desire  to  display  the 
quickness  of  our  perception,  the  smartness  of  our  wit,  and  the 
sharpness  of  our  observation." 

"  A  man  with  common  sense  may  pass  smoothly  through  life 
without  great  talents  ;  but  all  the  talents  in  the  world  will  not 
enable  a  man  without  common  sense  to  do  so." 

" expends  so  much  eulogy  on  himself,  that  he  has 

nothing  but  censure  and  contempt  to  bestow  on  others." 

"  The  poor,  in  their  isolation  in  the  midst  of  civilization,  are 
like  lepers  in  the  outskirts  of  cities,  who  have  been  repulsed 
from  society  with  disgust." 

"  There  is  a  difference  between  the  emotions  of  a  lover  and 
those  of  a  husband  :  the  lover  sighs,  and  the  husband  groans." 

"  There  are  some  persons  who  hesitate  not  to  inflict  pain  and 
suffering,  though  they  shrink  from  witnessing  its  effects.  In  the 
first  case  it  is  another  who  suffers  ;  in  the  second,  the  suffering 
being  presented  to  the  sight,  is  thus  brought  home  to  the  feel 
ings  of  those  who  inflict  it." 

SYMPATHIES    AND    ANTIPATHIES. 

"  On  sympathies  and  antipathies,  how  much  might  be  written 
without  defining  either  any  better  than  by  the  pithy  lines — 
VOL.  I.— L. 


242  WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

"  '  The  reason  why  I  can  not  tell, 
I  do  not  like  thee,  Dr.  Fell.' 

And  yet  all  feel,  in  a  greater  or  less  degree,  what  none  can  ad 
equately  describe  or  define.  A  dog  knows  by  instinct  that  cer 
tain  herbs  in  a  field  will  relieve  him  in  a  sickness,  and  he  de 
vours  them.  We  know  that  certain  physiognomies  repel  or 
attract  us,  and  we  avoid  or  seek  them  ;  and  this  is  all  we  know 
of  the  matter." 

ALL   THE   WORLD'S  A  STAGE,  ETC. 

"  The  great  majority  of  men  are  actors,  who  prefer  an  as 
sumed  part  to  that  which  Nature  had  assigned  them.  They 
seek  to  be  something,  or  to  appear  something  which  they  are 
not,  and  even  stoop  to  the  affectation  of  defects  rather  than  dis 
play  real  estimable  qualities  which  belong  to  them." 

"  A  German  writer  observes  :  '  The  noblest  characters  only 
show  themselves  in  their  real  light.  All  others  act  comedy 
with  their  fellow-men  even  unto  the  grave.'  " 

"  Men's  faults  will  always  be  better  known  than  their  vir 
tues,  because  their  defects  will  find  more  persons  capable  of 
forming  a  judgment  of  them  than  their  noble  qualities — persons 
fit  to  comprehend  and  to  appreciate  them." 

COLDNESS    OF    MANNER. 

"  There  are  some  persons  in  the  world  who  never  permit  us 
to  love  them  except  when  they  are  absent  ;  as,  when  present, 
they  chill  our  affection  by  showing  a  want  of  appreciation  of  it." 

"  Coldness  of  manner  does  not  always  proceed  from  coldness 
of  heart,  but  it  frequently  produces  that  effect  in  others." 

CONSCIENCE. 

"  Conscience  is  seldom  heard  in  youth,  for  the  tumultuous 
throbbing  of  the  heart  and  the  strong  suggestions  of  the  pas 
sions  prevent  its  still  small  voice  from  being  audible  ;  but  in 
the  decline  of  life,  when  the  heart  beats  languidly  and  the  pas 
sions  slumber,  it  makes  itself  heard,  and  on  its  whispers  depend 
our  happiness  or  misery." 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    243 
BEAUTY    AND    FEMININE    PERFECTIONS. 

"  Even  as  a  fountain,  in  whose  clear  waters  are  seen  the  re 
flections  of  the  bright  stars  of  heaven,  so  in 's  face  was  re 
flected  the  divine  spirit  that  animated  it  and  shone  through  its 
pure  lineaments." 

"  A  young  woman  ought,  like  an  angel,  to  pardon  the  faults 
she  can  not  comprehend,  and  an  elderly  woman  like  a  saint, 
because  she  has  endured  trials." 

"  One  of  the  old  painters  always  painted  the  object  of  his 
love  as  a  goddess." 

"  People  are  seldom  tired  of  the  world  till  the  world  are  tired 
of  them." 

"  If  over-caution  preserves  us  from  many  dangers,  of  how 
much  happiness  may  it  not  deprive  us,  by  closing  our  hearts 
against  the  sympathy  which  sweetens  life.  '  The  heart,'  says 
Pascal,  «  has  its  arguments  as  well  as  the  understanding.'  " 

STRONG    PASSIONS. 

"  Strong  passions  belong  only  to  strong  minds,  and  terrible  is 
the  struggle  that  Reason  has  to  make  to  subdue  them.  The  vic 
tory  is  never  a  bloodless  one,  and  many  are  the  scars  that  attest 
the  severity  of  the  conflict  before  her  opponents  are  driven  from 
the  field."* 

"  In  the  'Memoirs  of  Mackintosh,'  page  115,  we  find  a  passage 
from  the  MS.  Lectures  on  the  Law  of  Nature  and  Nations  :  *  It 
was  his  course  to  make  wonders  plain,  not  plain  things  wonder 
ful.'" 

"  It  is  not  sufficient  for  legislators  to  close  the  avenues  to 
crime,  unless  they  open  those  which  lead  to  virtue." 

A    POET    TRULY    CRACKED. 

"  Jeremy  Taylor  finds  a  moral  in  the  fable  that  ^Eschylus  sat 

*  Once  for  all,  I  may  observe,  in  many  of  the  writings  of  Lady  Blessington 
there  are  but  too  many  evidences  of  the  undue  importance  attached  to  Reason,  as 
a  power  all-sufficient  for  the  repression  of  vice,  the  support  of  virtue,  and  conso 
lation  of  affliction  ;  and  proofs  of  an  absence  of  all  reliance  on  religion  for  the  ob 
jects  in  question. 


244      WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

beneath  the  walls  of  his  abode  with  his  bald  head  uncovered, 
when  an  eagle,  hovering  over  the  house,  unfortunately  mistook 
the  shining  cranium  for  a  large  round  stone,  and  let  fall  a  tor 
toise  he  had  just  seized  to  break  the  shell,  but  cracked  the 
skull  of  the  poor  poet  instead  of  the  shell  of  the  tortoise." 

THE    DISLIKED    MISUNDERSTOOD. 

"  The  moment  we  are  not  liked,  we  discover  that  we  are  not 
understood  ;  when  probably  the  dislike  we  have  excited  pro 
ceeds  altogetEer  from  our  being  perfectly  understood." 

THE    IDOLS    OF    THE    HEART. 

"  We  make  temples  of  our  hearts,  in  which  we  worship  an 
idol,  until  we  discover  the  object  of  our  love  was  a  false  god, 
and  then,  when  it  falls,  it  is  not  the  idol  only  that  is  destroyed — 
the  shrine  is  ruined." 

LOVE    AND    JEALOUSY. 

"  Love  often  reillumes  his  extinguished  flame  at  the  torch  of 
jealousy." 

A    FALSE    POSITION. 

"  A  false  position  is  sustained  at  a  price  enormously  expens 
ive.  Sicard  truly  said, '  line  fausse  position  coute  enormement 
car  le  socicte  fait  payer  fort  cher  aux  gens,  le  tort,  qu'ils  out,  de 
ne  pas  etre  d'accord  avec  eux.'  " 

JESTERS FUNNY    PEOPLE . 

"  We  never  respect  persons  who  condescend  to  amuse  us.  There 
is  a  vast  difference  between  those  we  call  arnusino-  men  and 

& 

others  we  denominate  entertaining.  We  laugh  with  the  former, 
we  reflect  with  the  others." 

COURAGE,  PHYSICAL    AND    MORAL. 

"  We  find  in  all  countries  multitudes  of  people  physically 
brave,  but,  few  persons  in  any  land  morally  courageous." 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    245 


SELF-DEPENDENCE. 

"  We  acquire  mental  strength  by  being  left  to  our  own  re 
sources  ;  but  when  we  depend  on  others,  like  a  cripple  who  ac 
customs  himself  to  a  crutch,  we  lose  our  own  strength,  and  are 
rendered  dependent  on  an  artificial  prop." 

GENEROSITY    AND    SELFISHNESS. 

"  A  generous  mind  identifies  itself  with  all  around  it,  but  a 
selfish  one  identifies  all  things  with  self.  The  generous  man, 
forgetting  self,  seeks  happiness  in  promoting  that  of  others. 
The  selfish  man  reduces  all  things  to  one — his  own  interest." 

"  The  good  and  generous,  who  look  most  closely  into  their 
own  hearts  and  scrutinize  their  own  defects,  will  feel  most  pity 
for  the  frailties  of  others." 

"  Advice,  like  physic,  is  administered  with  more  pleasure  than 
it  is  taken." 

ESTIMATION    OF    MEN    OF    THE    WORLD. 

"  Those  who  give  abundant  dinners, 
Are  never  deemed  by  guests  great  sinners." 

"  Your  bon  vivants,  who  are  such  '  good  livers,'  make  very  bad 
diers." 

"  Shiel  describes  one  of  our  statesmen  as  a  man  who  united 
the  maximum  of  coldness  with  the  minimum  of  light ;  '  he  was 
an  iceberg  with  a  farthing  rushlight  on  the  summit.'" 

"  Those  who  judge  of  men  of  the  world  from  a  distance  are 
apt  to  attach  an  undue  importance  to  them,  while  those  who 
are  in  daily  contact  with  them  are  prone  to  underrate  them." 

C"  We  are  never  so  severe  in  dealing  with  the  sins  of  others  as 
when  we  are  no  longer  capable  of  committing  them  ourselves." 
"  Extremes  of  civilization  and  of  barbarism  approach  very 
nearly — both  beget  feelings  of  intense  selfishness." 

"  Inferior  minds  have  as  natural  an  antipathy  to  superior 
ones,  as  insects  have  to  animals  of  a  higher  organization,  whose 
power  is  dreaded  by  them." 

"  The  chief  requisites  for  a  courtier  are  a  flexible  conscience 
and  an  inflexible  politeness." 


246  WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

"  The  genius  and  talents  of  a  man  may  generally  be  judged 
of  by  the  large  number  of  his  enemies,  and  his  mediocrity  by 
that  of  his  friends." 

THE    YOUNG    TO    BE    KINDLY    TREATED. 

"  Childhood  should  not  be  a  season  of  care  and  constant  at 
tention,  incessant  teaching  and  painful  acquisition  :  Puisque  le 
jour  pent  lui  rnanquer  bientot,  laissons  le  un  peu  jouir  de  1'au- 
rore." 

SPARTAN    MORALISTS. 

"  Society,  in  its  Spartan  morality,  punishes  its  members  se 
verely  for  the  detection  of  their  vices,  but  crime  itself  has  noth 
ing  but  detection  to  apprehend  at  its  hands." 

"  Some  people  seem  to  consider  the  severity  of  their  censures 
on  the  failings  of  others  as  an  atonement  for  their  own." 

THE    VICTIMS    OF    SOCIETY. 

"  Society  is  like  the  sea  monster  to  which  Andromeda  was 
devoted  by  the  oracle.  It  requires  for  its  worship  many  vic 
tims,  and  the  fairest  must  be  occasionally  given  to  its  devouring 
jaws.  But  we  now  find  no  Perseus  in  its  circles  for  the  rescue 
of  the  doomed  ones  ;  and  the  monster  is  not  converted  into  a 
rock,  though  we  might  show  him  many  gorgons  hideous  enough 
to  accomplish  the  transformation." 

"  In  society  we  learn  to  know  others,  but  in  solitude  we  ac 
quire  a  knowledge  of  ourselves." 

SHORT    NOTICES     OF     NOTABILITIES. 

" 's  conversation  resembles  a  November  fog — dense,  op 
pressive,  bewildering,  through  which  you  can  never  see  your 
way." 

"  The  poetry  of is  like  a  field  with  wild  flowers,  many 

of  them  beautiful  and  fragrant." 

"  The  poetry  of  -  -  resembles  a  bouquet  of  artificial  flow 
ers,  destitute  of  odor,  and  possessing  none  of  the  freshness  of 
nature." 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    247 

"  It  was  said  of that  his  conversation  was  a  tissue  of 

bon  mots,  and  was  overlaid  by  them  :  a  few  spangles  may  orna 
ment  a  garment,  but  if  the  texture  of  it  is  wholly  covered  by 
them,  the  dress  is  spoiled." 

" formed  few  friendships  in  life,  but  he  cultivated  many 

enmities." 

" in  his  old  age  might  be  said  to  resemble  a  spent  thun 
derbolt." 

"  The  difference  between  the  minds  of : and  —  —  is  this  : 

the  one  is  introspective,  and  looks  into  the  vast  recesses  of  its 
intelligence  for  the  treasures  of  deep  thought ;  the  other  looks 
behind  the  shelves  of  others'  thoughts,  and  appropriates  all  he 
finds  there.  The  intellect  of  one  is  profound  and  solid,  that  of 
the  second  sparkling  and  versatile." 

"  The  works  of do  not  exhibit  the  overflowings  of  a  full 

mind,  but  rather  the  dregs  of  an  exhausted  one." 

"  When  I  see  Lady 's  wrinkles  daubed  with  rouge,  and 

her  borrowed  ringlets  wreathed  with  flowers,  I  am  reminded  of 
the  effigies  of  the  dead,  which  in  ancient  times  were  introduced 
at  festivals,  to  recall  the  brevity  of  life,  and  give  a  keener  zest 
to  the  pleasures  of  existence." 

BIGOTRY    AND    FANATICISM. 

"  Men  who  would  persecute  others  for  religious  opinions, 
prove  the  errors  of  their  own." 

"  In  fighting  for  the  Church,  religion  seems  generally  to  be 
quite  lost  sight  of." 

SUPERSTITION. 

"  Superstition  is  but  the  fear  of  belief ;  religion  is  the  confi 
dence." 

SKEPTICS. 

"  Skeptics,  like  dolphins,  change  when  dying." 
"  We  render  ourselves  the  ministers  of  the  fatality  which  our 
weakness  imagines." 

"  It  is  difficult  to  decide  whether  it  is  most  disagreeable  to 


248  WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

live  with  fanatics,  who  insist  on  our  believing  all  they  believe, 
or  with  philosophers,  who  would  have  us  doubt  every  thing  of 
which  they  are  not  convinced  themselves." 

INJURIES    AND    FORGIVENESS. 

"  Forgiveness  of  injuries  in  general  draws  on  the  forgiver  a 
repetition  of  wrongs — as  people  reason  thus  :  as  he  has  forgiven 
so  much,  he  can  forgive  more." 

"  If  we  thought  only  of  others,  we  might  be  tempted  never 
to  pardon  injuries  ;  but  when  we  wish  to  preserve  our  own 
peace,  it  is  a  most  essential  step  toward  insuring  it." 

"  It  is  easier  to  pardon  the  faults  than  the  virtues  of  our 
friends,  because  the  first  excite  feelings  of  self-complacency  in 
us,  the  second  a  sense  of  humiliation." 

"  Great  injuries  pardoned  preclude  the  enjoyment  of  friend 
ship  on  the  same  happy  terms  of  equality  of  benefits  received 
and  conferred,  and  of  kindly  feelings  that  subsisted  previously 
to  the  interruption  of  amity  between  the  parties  who  had  been 
linked  together  in  the  bonds  of  mutual  love.  The  friend  who 
pardons  a  great  wrong  acquires  a  superiority  that  wounds  the 
self-love  of  the  pardoned  man  ;  and  however  the  latter  may  ad 
mire  the  generosity  of  the  forgiver,  he  can  love  as  he  had  pre 
viously  done — no  more." 

AMBITION. CHANGE. 

"  Those  who  arc  content  to  follow  are  not  formed  to  lead  ;  for 
the  ambition  which  excites  a  man  to  put  himself  forward  is,  in 
general,  the  attribute  of  the  strong  mind,  however  beset  by  dif 
ficulties,  resolved  to  effect  an  object  much  desired." 

"  Time  and  change,  what  are  they  but  the  same  ? 
For  change  is  but  for  time  another  name." 

"  Nos  liens  s'clongcnt  quelquefois,  mais 
Us  ne  se  rompent  jamais." 

"  How  like  Goldsmith's  line  : 

"  '  And  drags  at  each  remove  a  lengthening  chain.' " 
"  The  tide  of  life  is  continually  ebbing  and  flowing,  and  myr- 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    249 

iads  of  human  beings  pass  away  to  the  ocean  of  eternity,  suc 
ceeded  by  others,  as  do  the  ripples  of  a  stream  that  flows  on  to 
the  sea,  continually  disappearing  and  renewed." 

Unfinished  lines  of  Lady  Blessington  in  a  memorandum-book: 

"  The  snow-drop  looks  as  if  it  were  a  tear  of  winter, 
Shed  before  it  parts,  touched  by  its  icy  breath, 
Which  doth  become  a  flower, 
Springing  from  snow — as  souls  emerge  from  death." 

THE  FLOWER  TO  THE  STARS. 
"  Despise  us  not ;  we  are  the  stars  of  earth, 
And  though  we  homage  pay  to  you  on  high, 
Lifting  our  fragile  heads  to  view  your  brightness, 
Are  ye  not  forced  to  let  your  shining  eyes 
Dwell  on  us  denizens  of  the  favored  earth  7 
Formed  by  the  same  Almighty  cause  of  all, 
Ye  look  down  on  us  from  your  azure  fields, 
And  we  from  ours  of  green  look  up  to  you." 


"  And  thou  art  gone  from  earth,  like  some  fair  dream 

Beheld  in  slumber,  leaving  naught  behind 
But  memory,  to  tell  that  thou  hast  been, 
And  there  for  evermore  to  be  enshrined. 

"  As  ships  that  sail  upon  the  boundless  deep, 

Yet  leave  no  trace  ;  or  onward  in  their  flight, 

As  birds  which  cleave  the  blue  and  ambient  air, 

Leave  no  impress,  and  soon  are  lost  to  sight, 

"  So  those  who  to  eternity  do  pass, 

Like  shadows  disappear,  and  naught  remains 
To  tell  us  they  have  been,  but  aching  hearts 
And  pallid  traits  which  memory  retains." 

UNEQUAL  MARRIAGES. 
"  Oh  wise  was  he,  the  first  who  taught 
This  lesson  of  observant  thought, 
That  equal  fates  alone  may  dress 
The  bowers  of  nuptial  happiness  : 
That  never  where  ancestral  pride 
Inflames,  or  affluence  rolls  its  tide, 
Should  love's  ill-omened  bond  entwine 
The  offspring  of  an  humble  line." 
L2 


250  WAIFS  AND  STRAYS  OF  THOUGHTS,  ETC., 

To  Sir  William  Massy  Stanley,  Baronet,  on  receiving  a  pres 
ent  of  woodcocks : 

"  At  a  season  when  dunning  the  mind  with  dread  fills, 
You  send  me  the  only  acceptable  bills, 
And  their  length,  unlike  others,  no  gloom  can  inspire, 
Though,  like  many  long  bills,  they're  consigned  to  the  fire  ; 
And  we  never  discuss  them  unless  with  a  toast, 
Washed  down  by  a  bumper  to  Hoolen's  good  host." 

Lines  in  penciling  in  a  commonplace  book  of  Lady  Blessing- 
ton : 

"Ye  gods,  what  is  it  that  I  see  ! 
Oh,  who  a  grandfather  would  be  ! 
Behold  the  treasure-store  of  years, 
Sole  objects  of  my  hopes  and  fears, 
Collected  from  far  distant  lands, 
Become  a  prey  to  vandal  hands  ; 
Rare  manuscripts  that  none  could  read, 
Symbols  of  each  religious  creed  ; 
Missals  with  reddest  colors  bright, 
Black-lettered  tomes  long  shut  from  light; 
Medals  defaced,  with  scarce  a  trace 
Of  aught  resembling  human  face  ; 
All  in  chaotic  ruin  hurled, 
The  fragments  of  a  by-gone  world. 
And  you,  unpitying  girl,  who  knew 
The  mischief  of  this  urchin  crew, 
How  could  you  let  them  thus  destroy 
What  to  collect  did  years  employ  1 
Away,  ye  wicked  elves  !     Ah  me  ! 
Who  e'er  a  grandfather  would  bel" 

TRIALS   AND    AFFLICTIONS. 

"  My  heart  is  like  a  frozen  fountain,  over  which  the  ice  is  too 
hard  to  allow  of  the  stream  beneath  flowing  with  vigor,  though 
enough  of  vitality  remains  to  make  the  chilling  rampart  that  di 
vides  its  waters  from  light  and  air  insupportable."* 

"  A  knowledge  of  the  nothingness  of  life  is  seldom  attained 
except  by  those  of  superior  minds." 

*  This  entry  is  in  the  early  part  of  the  Night  Thought  Book,  dated  21st  of  Oc- 
toher,  1834. 


FROM  UNPUBLISHED  PAPERS  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.    251 

"  The  first  heavy  affliction  that  falls  on  us  rends  the  veil  of 
life,  and  lets  us  see  all  its  darkness." 

"  Desperate  is  the  grief  of  him  whom  prosperity  has  harden 
ed,  and  who  feels  the  first  arrow  of  affliction  strike  at  his  heart 
through  the  life  of  an  object  dearest  to  him  on  earth." 

"  The  separation  of  death  is  less  terrible  than  the  moral  di 
vorce  of  two  hearts  which  have  loved,  but  have  ceased  to  sym 
pathize,  with  memory  recalling  what  they  once  were  to  each 
other." 

"  Religion  converts  despair,  which  destroys,  into  resignation, 
which  submits." 

"  Sorrow  in  its  exaltation  seems  to  have  an  instinctive  sym 
pathy  with  the  sufferings  of  others.  Brisset  observes  :  '  L'ame 
exaltee  par  la  douleur  se  moritc  au  diapason  d'une  autre  ame 
blessee,  aussi  facilement  que  le  violon  qui,  sans  etre  touche  se 
met  a  1'accord  de  1'instrument  qu'on  fait  vibrer  loin  de  lui.' " 

"  How  many  errors  do  we  confess  to  our  Creator  which  we 
dare  not  discover  to  the  most  fallible  of  our  fellow-creatures  !" 

"  Fatality  is  another  name  for  misconduct." 


CHAPTER  XII. 

LINES    ADDRESSED    TO    LADY    BLESSINGTON    BY   VARIOUS    PERSONS. 

LINES  written  by  Walter  Savage  Landor  to  Lady  Blessington  : 

"  What  language,  let  me  think,  is  meet 
For  you,  well  called  the  Marguerite. 
The  Tuscan  has  too  weak  a  tone, 
Too  rough  and  rigid  is  our  own ; 
The  Latin — no,  it  will  not  do, 
The  Attic  is  alone  for  you." 

"  February  28th,  1848. 

"  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — The  earthquake  that  has  shaken  all  Italy  and 
Sicily  has  alone  been  able  to  shake  a  few  cindery  verses  out  of  me.  Yester 
day  there  was  glorious  intelligence  from  France,  and  you  will  find,  on  the 
other  side,  the  effect  is  produced  on  me  within  the  hour.  No  !  there  will  not 
be  room  for  it.  Here  are  some  lines  that  I  wrote  when  I  was  rather  a  young 
er  man — date  them  fifty  years  back. 

"  Ever  yours  most  truly,  W.  S.  LANDOR." 


252  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

"  The  fault  is  not  mine  if  I  love  you  too  much — 

I  loved  you  too  little  too  long  ; 
Such  ever  your  graces,  your  tenderness  such, 

The  music  so  sweet  of  your  tongue. 
"  The  time  is  now  coming  when  love  must  be  gone, 

Though  he  never  abandoned  me  yet ; 
Acknowledge  our  friendship,  our  passion  disown, 
Not  even  our  follies  forget." 

Lines  of  Walter  Savage  Landor  on  a  postscript  of  a  letter  from 
Florence,  dated  April  25th,  1835  : 

"  Out  of  thy  books,  0  Beauty  !  I  had  been 

For  many  a  year, 

Till  she  who  reigns  on  earth  thy  lawful  queen 
Replaced  me  there." 

In  one  of  the  letters  addressed  to  Lady  Blessington  are  the 
following  beautiful  lines,  written  by  W.  Savage  Landor  after 
perusing  a  passage  in  a  letter : 

"7  have  not  forgotten  your  favorite  old  tune  :  will  you  hear  it  ?" 
"  Come  sprinkle  me  that  music  on  the  breast, 

Bring  me  the  varied  colors  into  light, 
That  now  obscurely  on  its  marble  rest ; 

Show  me  its  flowers  and  figures  fresh  and  bright. 

"  Waked  at  thy  voice  and  touch,  again  the  chords 
Restore  what  envious  years  had  moved  away  ; 
Restore  the  glowing  cheeks,  the  tender  words, 

Youth's  vernal  noon,  and  pleasure's  summer  day." 

TO  THE  COUNTESS  OF  BLESSINGTON. 
"  Since  in  the  terrace-bower  we  sate, 

While  Arno  gleamed  below, 
And  over  sylvan  Massa  late 
Hung  Cynthia's  slender  bow, 

"  Years  after  years  have  passed  away, 

Less  light  and  gladsome  !  WThy 
Do  those  we  most  implore  to  stay, 

Run  ever  swiftly  by?" 
Not  signed,  but  in  the  handwriting  of  W.  S.  Landor. 

The  reply  of  an  octogenarian  (the  elder  D'Israeli)  to  a  beauti 
ful  lady  who  wrote  him  some  verses  on  his  birth-day,  May  11, 

1  845  : 


BY  VARIOUS  PERSONS.  253 

"  A  wreath  from  a  muse,  a  flower  from  a  grace, 
Are  visions  of  fancy  which  memory  can  trace. 
Though  sightless,  and  braving  my  dungeon  around  me, 
How  is  it  vain  phantoms  of  glory  surround  me  ? 
The  enchantress  with  flattery's  thrice  potent  rhyme 
Reopens  the  hours  which  I  lovod  in  my  prime ; 
From  my  eightieth  dull  year  to  my  fortieth  I  rise, 
And  cherish  the  shadows  her  genius  supplies." 

Addressed  to  Lady  Blessington  at  Genoa  by  Lord  Byron : 
"  You  have  asked  for  a  verse  :  the  request 

In  a  rhymer  'twere  strange  to  deny ; 
But  my  Hippocrene  was  but  my  breast, 
And  my  feelings  (its  fountain)  are  dry. 

"  Were  I  now  as  I  was,  I  had  sung 

What  Lawrence  has  penciled  so  well ; 

But  the  strain  would  expire  on  my  tongue, 

And  the  theme  is  too  soft  for  my  shell. 

"  I  am  ashes  where  once  I  was  fire, 

And  the  bard  in  my  bosom  is  dead ; 
What  I  loved  I  now  merely  admire, 
And  my  heart  is  as  gray  as  my  head. 

"  My  life  is  not  dated  by  years — 

There  are  moments  which  act  as  a  plow ; 
And  there  is  not  a  furrow  appears 
But  is  deep  in  my  heart  as  my  brow. 

"  Let  the  young  and  the  brilliant  aspire 

To  sing,  while  I  gaze  on  in  vain ; 
For  sorrow  has  torn  from  my  lyre 
The  string  which  was  worthy  the  strain." 

Answer  by  Lady  Blessington  : 

"  When  I  asked  for  averse,  pray  believe 

'Twas  not  vanity  urged  the  desire  ; 
For  no  more  can  my  mirror  deceive, 
No  more  can  I  poets  inspire. 

"  Time  has  touched  with  rude  fingers  my  brow, 

And  the  roses  have  fled  from  my  cheek, 
And  it  surely  were  folly  if  now 

I  the  praise  due  to  beauty  should  seek. 

"  And  as  pilgrims  who  visit  the  shrine 
Of  some  saint  bear  a  relic  away, 


254  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

I  sought  a  memorial  of  thine, 

As  a  treasure  when  distant  I  stray. 

"  Oh  !  say  not  that  lyre  is  unstrung, 

Whose  chords  can  such  rapture  bestow, 
Or  that  mute  is  that  magical  tongue 
From  which  music  and  poetry  flow. 

"  And  though  sorrow,  ere  youth  yet  has  fled, 

May  have  altered  thy  locks'  jetty  hue, 
The  rays  that  encircle  thy  head 

Hide  the  ravaging  marks  from  our  vieiv." 

Lines  of  Lord  Ersldne  for  an  inscription  for  a  collar  of  a  lap- 
dog  of  the  Countess  of  Blessington  : 

"  Whoever  finds  and  don't  forsake  me, 
Shall  have  naught  in  way  of  gains  ; 
But  let  him  to  my  mistress  take  me, 
And  he  shall  see  her  for  his  pains." 

Note  accompanying  lines  to  Lady  Blessington,  by  Thomas 
Moore  : 

"  Sloperton,  February  19th,  1834. 

"  MY  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — When  persons  like  you  condescend  so  to 
ask,  how  are  poor  poets  to  refuse  1  At  the  same  time,  I  confess  I  have  a  hor 
ror  of  albumizing,  annualizing,  periodic  alizing,  which  my  one  inglorious  sur 
render  (and  for  base  money  too)  to  that  Triton  of  literature,  Marryatt,  has  but 
the  more  confirmed  me  in.  At  present,  what  with  the  weather  and  my  his 
tory,  I  am  chilled  into  a  man  of  mere  prose.  But  as  July  approaches,  who 
knows  but  I  may  thaw  into  songl  and  though  —  as  O'Connell  has  a  vow 
registered  in  heaven  against  pistols,  so  /have  against  periodicals,  yet  there 
are  few,  I  must  say,  who  could  be  more  likely  to  make  a  man  break  this  (or 
any  other)  vow  than  yourself,  if  you  thought  it  worth  your  while. 

"  And  so,  with  this  gallant  speech,  which,  from  a  friend  of  a  quarter  of  a 
century's  date,  is  not,  I  flatter  myself,  to  be  despised,  I  am,  my  dear  Lady 
Blessington,  most  truly  yours,  THOMAS  MOORE." 

"  What  shall  I  sing  thec  1     Shall  I  tell 
Of  that  bright  hour,  remember'd  well 
As  though  it  shone  but  yesterday, 
When,  as  I  loitered  in  the  ray 
Of  the  warm  sun,  I  heard  o'erhead 
My  name,  as  by  some  spirit,  said, 
And  looking  up,  saw  two  bright  eyes 
Above  me  from  a  casement  shine, 


BY  VARIOUS  PERSONS.  255 

"  Dazzling  the  heart  with  such  surprise 
As  they  who  sail  beyond  the  Line 
Feel,  when  new  stars  above  them  rise  1 
And  it  was  thine — the  voice  that  spoke, 
Like  Ariel's,  in  the  blue  air  then  ; 
And  thine  the  eyes,  whose  lustre  broke, 
Never  to  be  forgot  again  ! 

"  What  shall  I  sing  thee  1    Shall  I  weave 
A  song  of  that  sweet  summer  eve 
(Summer,  of  which  the  sunniest  part 
Was  that  which  each  had  in  the  heart), 
When  thou,  and  I,  and  one  like  thee 
In  life  and  beauty,  to  the  sound 
Of  our  own  breathless  minstrelsy,* 
Danced  till  the  sunlight  faded  round, 
Ourselves  the  whole  ideal  ball — 
Lights,  music,  company,  and  alii" 

Verses  for  an  album,  written  at  the  request  of  the  Countess 
of  Blessington,  by  George  Colman. 

1. 

"  How  have  I  sworn — and  sworn  so  deep, 
No  more  to  put  my  friends  to  sleep 

By  writing  crambo  for  'em  ! 
Rhymes  my  amusement  once  I  made, 
When  Youth  and  Folly  gave  me  aid, 
But  since  they  have  become  my  trade, 
I  must,  of  course,  abhor  'em. 

2. 

"  Entirely  generous  Mr.  Thrale, 
Who  sold  brown  stout,  and  haply  ale, 

Was  always  fond  of  giving, 
Of  whom  Sam  Johnson  said  one  day, 
'  Thrale  would  give  any  thing  away, 
Rather  than  porter,  I  dare  say, 
By  which  he  makes  his  living.' 

3. 

"  Yet  the  allusion  holds  not  here — 
Mine  is  but  Poetry's  small  beer, 

And  every  line  will  show  it : 
Thrale  brewed  more  potent  stuff,  I  ween, 

*  "  I  believe  it  was  to  a  piper ;  but  it  sounds  more  poetical  to  say,  to  our  own 
singing." 


256  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

From  Thames,  than  I  from  Hippocrene, 
So  there's  no  parallel  between 
The  brewer  and  the  poet. 

4. 

"  Still,  why  again  be  scribbling !    List ! 
There  is  a  pair  I  can't  resist, 

'Tis  now  no  drudging  duty, 
The  Blessingtons  demand  my  strain, 
And  who  records  against  the  grain, 
His  sparkling  converse  and  champagne, 
And  her  more  sparkling  beauty  1 

5. 

"  But  hold !  I  fear  my  prudence  sleeps, 
Her  ladyship  an  Album  keeps, 

Whose  leaves,  though  I  ne'er  spied  'em, 
Are  graced  with  verse  from  wits  profess'd, 
Bards  by  Apollo  highly  bless'd ; 
No  doubt  they've  done  their  very  best, 
How  shall  I  look  beside  'em  1 

6. 

"  Dare  I,  in  lame  and  silly  pride, 
Hobble  where  Rogers  loves  to  glide  1 

Whose  sweetly  simple  measure 
Make  enviers  of  Genius  mad, 
Delight  the  moral,  soothe  the  sad, 
Give  human  life  a  zest,  and  add 
To  Memory' 's  greatest  pleasures. 

7. 

"  Or  if  I  venture,  cheek  by  jowl, 
With  the  Anacreontic  soul, 

That  master,  to  a  tittle, 
Of  elegant  erotic  lore, 
Then  they,  who  my  weak  page  explore, 
Will  reckon  me  much  less  than  More, 
Not  half  so  Great  as  Little. 

8. 

"  Well,  well,  no  matter ;   still,  I  feel 
My  talent's  dearth  supplied  by  zeal ; 

Away,  then,  base  dejection  ! 
This  scrawl,  whate'er  its  want  of  wit, 
If  Lady  Blessington  think  fit, 
So  very  much  to  honor  it, 

May  rest  in  her  collection."  1st  August,  1819. 


BY  VARIOUS  PERSONS.  257 

Note  accompanying  lines  to  Lady  Blessington,  by  F.  Mills, 

Esq.: 

"  57  Audley  Street. 

"  MY  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — I  send  you  my  verses  ;  they  were  written 
for  you,  but  I  was  unwilling  to  present  them,  in  the  fear  that  you  would  not 
pass  the  threshold  of  the  title.  That  you  may  not  do  now  ;  but  still,  as  they 
are  registered  in  my  book  as  having  been  composed  at  your  request,  I  think 
it  right  that  you  should  see  them.  I  have  no  better  excuse  for  myself.  If 
you  will  not  read  them,  nobody  else  will. 

"  Ever  yours  sincerely,  F.  MILLS." 

CHARACTERISTIC— THE  ROSE  OR  THE  VIOLET. 
A  cause  pleaded  in  Italy. 

"  I  saw  a  violet  droop  its  head  ; 

"Tis  strange,  and  yet  it  seem'd  in  grief, 
And  there,  from  nature's  book,  I  read 
A  tale  of  sorrow  in  the  leaf. 

"  A  tear  as  in  the  eye  would  stand, 

The  cheek  was  of  a  livid  hue  ; 
The  form  was  bow'd  by  some  rude  hand, 
And  for  its  fragrance  bruised  too. 

"  There  was  a  canker  in  that  cell, 

The  secret  source  of  many  a  woe, 

Of  deep  remorse  those  lips  would  tell, 

Or — never  had  they  quiver'd  so. 

"  She  loved,  'twas  in  the  soil  or  clime, 

In  every  flower,  in  every  field — 
Her  earliest  lesson,  only  crime  ; 

And  one  so  soft  was  form'd  to  yield. 

"  But  near  her,  late  transplanted  there, 
A  rose  was  glittering  in  the  light ; 
It  grew  not  in  its  native  air, 

And  yet  it  seemed  to  bloom  as  bright. 

"  And  though  it  played  with  every  wind 

As  willing  as  the  blushing  morn, 

Who  thought  to  gather  it  would  find 

'Twas  always  guarded  by  a  thorn. 

"  'Twas  Anglia's  boast,  and  well  I  trow, 

A  badge  for  which  her  sons  had  bled, 
Had  many  a  life's  spring  caused  to  flow, 
And  widow'd  many  a  bridal  bed. 


258  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

"  And  though  its  bloom  may  pass  away, 

Or  fade  beneath  the  coming  hour, 
'Twill  still  be  fragrant  in  decay, 

Not  rankle,  like  that  bruised  flower." 

A  note,  rather  idolatrously  complimentary,  addressed  to  Lady 
Blessington.  No  signature,  no  date,  with  lines  written  on  leav 
ing  Naples,  and  said  to  be  "  translated  into  French  :" 

TRADUCTION. 

"Si  ce  n'etait  pas  un  culte  uniquement  reserve  au  Dieu  que  nous  adorons, 
de  bruler  de  1'encens  sur  ses  autels  ;  1'univers  s'empresserait  de  t'offrir  ces 
honneurs.  Alors  nuit  et  jour  j'entretiendrais  ce  feu  de  mes  mains,  et  un 
nuage  epais  de  parfum  s'eleverait  jusqu'aux  cieux.  Mais  puisque  cela  m'est 
interdit,  que  je  puisse,  au  moins  t'offrir  cet  encens  sacre,  que  je  brulerais  pour 
toi,  si  j'etais  payen. 

TRADUCTION. 
"  Adieu  terre  classique,  adieu  ciel  sans  nuages, 

Adieu  dignes  amis,  vous  dont  le  souvenir 

Vient  s'unir  dans  mon  coeur  aux  charmes  de  ses  rivages, 

Je  songe  avec  douleur  !  helas  !  qu'il  faut  partir 

Doux  amis  !  doux  climat  que  j'aime  et  que  j'admirc. 

Quel  enivrant  tableau  vous  formiez  reunis 

L'un  et  1'autre  a  1'envi  sembliez  me  sourire  ; 

Mais  le  sort  me  1'ordonne  .  .  il  le  faut .  .  je  vous  fuis 

La  Syrenc,  disais-je,  un  moment  abregee 

Vit  Naples  et  mourut,  et  j'envirais  son  sort 

Mais  plaignons  la  plutot,  jamais  apres  sa  mort 

A-t-elle  peut  trouver  un  plus  doux  Elisee  ] 

Vous  enchantez  encore  les  sens  du  voyageur, 

Parthenope  en  ce  jour  a  plus  d'une  Syrene, 

Que  de  fois  les  accens  de  Lisette  et  d'Irene, 

Ont  charme  mes  instants,  ont  cnivre  mon  coeur. 

Adieu  tendres  amis  !  dans  ma  froide  patrie 

L'image  du  bonheur  qu'en  ces  terns  j'ai  goute 

Viendra  toujours  s'ofirir  a  mon  ame  attendrie 

Avec  le  pur  eclat  de  ce  cicl  enchante/' 

Lines  by  James  Smith,  in  a  letter  addressed  to  Lady  Bless 
ington,  dated  November  10,  1836  : 

GORE  HOUSE— AN  IMPROMPTU. 
"  Mild  Wilberforce,  by  all  beloved, 
Once  own'd  this  hallow'd  spot, 


BY  VARIOUS%PERSONS.  359 

Whose  zealous  eloquence  improved 

The  fetter'd  Negro's  lot ; 
Yet  here  still  slavery  attacks 

When  Blessingtoii  invites  ; 
The  chains  from  which  he  freed  the  Blacks, 

She  rivets  on  the  Whites. 

"27  Craven  Street,  Tuesday." 

Note  accompanying  lines  to  Lady  Blessington,  by  Jas.  Smith  : 

"27  Craven  Street,  Friday,  December  9,  1836. 

"  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — '  Gore  House'  has  awakened  another  (anony 
mous)  muse  ;  I  wonder  who  it  can  be. 

"  Your  ladyship's  faithful  and  devoted  servant,  JAMES  SMITH." 

A  more  deliberate  reply  to  the  Impromptu  : 
"  No,  not  the  chains  which  erst  he  broke 

Does  Blessington  impose, 
Light  is  her  burden,  soft  her  yoke, 
No  pain  her  captive  knows. 

"  The  slave  by  galling  fetters  bruised, 

By  force  his  will  subdued  ; 
Obedience  of  the  mind  refused, 
With  haste  his  tyrant  viewed. 

"  On  willing  hearts  her  bonds  are  thrown, 

Her  charms  her  empire  prove  ; 
Pleased  with  their  fate,  the  captives  own 
No  power  but  that  of  love." 

Lines  to  the  Countess  of  Blessington,  by  James  Smith  : 

"July  11,  1832. 
"  The  Bird  of  Paradise,  that  flies 

O'er  blest  Arabia's  plains, 
Devoid  of  feet,  forbears  to  rise, 
And  where  she  rests,  remains. 

"  Like  her  of  footing  reft,  I  fain 

Would  seek  your  bless'd  dominions, 
And  there  content,  till  death,  remain, 
But  ah  !  I  lack  the  pinions." 

"  Admiralty,  May  6, 1820. 

"  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — I  have  received  from  Lord  Blessington  your 
commands  for  the  third  time.  I  beg  pardon  for  having  been  so  tardy  ;  but 
the  inclosed  will  show  that  I  have,  at  last,  implicitly  and  literally  obeyed  you. 

"  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  dear  Lady  Blessington,  your  very  faithful  serv 
ant.  J.  W.  CROKER." 


260  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

"  You've  asked  me  three  times 
For  four  lines  with  two  rhymes  ; 
Too  long  I've  delayed, 
But  at  last  you're  obeyed !" 

Letter  of  T.  Stewart,  Esq.,  inclosing  lines  written  in  Naples, 
addressed  to  Lady  Blessington  : 

"  Palais  Belvidere,  Naples,  Monday. 

"  MY  DEAR  MADAM, — Although  these  lines  can  only  prove  the  good  wishes 
and  intentions  of  their  author,  I  hope  you  will  not  be  displeased  at  receiving 
them. 

"  My  uncle*  refused  your  kind  invitation  with  great  regret  yesterday,  but 
he  is  so  lame  at  present  that  he  can  scarcely  walk.  He  is  likewise,  in  some 
degree,  alarmed  about  himself. 

"  With  my  best  wishes  to  Miss  Power  and  to  D'Orsay,  I  remain  your  lady 
ship's,  most  sincerely,  T.  STEWART." 

Lines  addressed  to  Marguerite,  Countess  of  Blessington,  on 
her  leaving  Naples,  spring,  1826,  in  consequence  of  the  climate 
injuring  her  health  : 

1. 
"  'Tis  vain  that  the  rose  and  the  myrtle  are  twining 

In  wreaths  that  the  Graces  intended  for  thee  ; 

For  thou  wilt  be  far  when  their  blossom  is  pining, 

Unseen  in  the  grove,  and  unculled  on  the  tree. 

2. 
"  The  light  step  of  spring  o'er  the  mountains  is  bounding, 

The  nymphs  are  returned  to  the  fountains  again  ; 
The  woods  with  the  nightingale's  notes  are  resounding, 
Yet  sadness  through  all  thy  lone  precincts  shall  reign. 

3. 

"  Though  forests  of  citron  the  mountains  are  shading, 
Though  hues  like  the  rainbow's  enamel  the  vale, 
The  flower  that  is  fairest  is  secretly  fading, 
For  sickness  is  wafted  to  thee  on  the  gale. 

4. 

"  Alas  !  that  in  climes  where  all  nature  is  gladdest, 

Her  charms,  like  the  visions  of  youth,  should  deceive  ; 
Of  the  tears  at  thy  parting,  those  tears  will  be  saddest, 
That,  grieving  for  thee,  we  for  nature  must  grieve." 

*  Sir  William  Gell. 


BY  VARIOUS  PERSONS.  261 

Lines  inclosed  in  a  letter  of  Mr.  N.  P.  "Willis  to  Lady  Bless- 
ington,  April  2,  1840  : 

"  The  music  of  the  waken'd  lyre 

Dies  not  within  the  quivering  strings, 
Nor  burn'd  alone  the  minstrel's  fire 

Upon  the  lip  that  trembling  sings ; 
Nor  shines  the  moon  in  heaven  unseen, 

Nor  shuts  the  flower  its  fragrant  cells, 
Nor  sleeps  the  fountain's  wealth,  I  ween ; 

Forever  in  its  sparry  wells 
The  charms  of  the  enchanter  lie, 
Not  in  his  own  lone  heart,  his  own  rapt  ear  and  eye. 
"  I  gaze  upon  a  face  as  fair 

As  ever  made  a  lip  of  heaven 
Falter  amid  its  music — prayer ; 

The  first  lit  star  of  summer  even 
Springs  scarce  so  softly  on  the  eye, 

Nor  grows  with  watching  half  so  bright, 
Nor  mid  its  sisters  of  the  sky 

So  seems  of  heaven  the  dearest  light. 
Men  murmur  where  that  shape  is  seen, 
'  My  youth's  angelic  dream  was  of  that  form  and  mien.' 
"  Yet,  though  we  deem  the  stars  are  bless'd, 

And  envy  in  our  grief  the  flower 
That  bears  but  sweetness  in  its  breast, 

And  praise  the  enchanter  for  his  power, 
And  love  the  minstrel  for  the  spell 

He  winds  from  out  his  lyre  so  well ; 
The  starlight  doth  the  wanderer  bless, 
The  lyre  the  listener's  tears  beguile, 
And,  lady,  in  the  loveliness 

Doth  light  to-day  that  radiant  smile, 
A  lamp  is  lit  in  beauty's  eye, 
That  souls,  else  lost  on  earth,  remember  angels  by  !" 

Copy  of  verses,  signed  Fitzgerald.     Addressed  to  Lady  Bless- 
ington,  on  Literary  Taste.  u  ^  ^  m& 

"  Through  wide  creation's  ample  round, 
Where'er  her  varying  forms  are  found, 
The  landscape  deck'd  with  nature's  dyes, 
The  boundless  sea,  o'er-arching  skies, 
The  waving  wood,  the  winding  shore, 
The  tranquil  lake  or  torrent's  roar, 


262  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

The  modest  valley,  far  withdrawn, 

Or  the  proud  cliff  or  laughing  lawn  ; 

These  all  can  please,  yet  none  to  me 

Such  soothing  charm  conveys  as  minds  refined  and  free. 

"  Let  goblets  shine  on  festal  board, 
And  lavish  art  exhaust  her  hoard 
To  raise  the  soul  or  warm  the  heart, 
And  a  new  zest  to  life  impart ; 
How  vain  the  pomp,  the  wealth  how  poor, 
Worthless  as  gold  on  Indian  floor, 
Unless  the  grace  of  mind  preside, 
To  soften  down  the  glare  of  pride  ; 
With  magic  touch  the  feast  refine, 
Wreathe  bays  round  pleasure's  cup,  to  nectar  turn  his  wine. 

"  'Mid  darker  scenes,  in  sorrow's  hour, 
Taste  comes  with  softly  soothing  pow'r ; 
Sheds  a  mild  radiance  through  the  gloom, 
And  shades  with  silver  wings  the  tomb  ! 
Strews  roses  o'er  the  waste  of  time, 
And  lulls  the  anguish  of  his  crime 
'Gainst  love  and  hope,  whose  precious  buds 
He  cuts,  and  casts  them  on  the  floods  ! 
So  drops  an  anodyne  t'  endure 
Those  deep  and  trenchant  wounds  which  it  can  never  cure ! 

"  Oh  !  thus  amid  the  dream  of  joy, 
Or  trance  of  grief,  can  taste  employ 
Those  hours  that  else  to  riot  run, 
Or  waste  in  sadness  with  each  sun  ! 
Should  Beauty  lend  her  smile  to  Wit, 
And  Learning  by  her  star  be  lit, 
As  gems  beneath  the  solar  ray 
Are  ripened  and  enriched  with  day  ; 
How  bless 'd  the  happy  pow'r  we  prove  ! 
Then  bright  Minerva  shines  in  Blcssington  with  love." 

Verses  inclosed  in  a  letter  of  John  Kenyon,  Esq.,  to  Lady 
Blessington,  Paris,  15th  June,  1810  : 

ITALY. 

"  Fair  blows  the  breeze  :  depart !  depart ! 
And  tread  with  me  the  Italian  shore, 
And  feed  thy  soul  with  glorious  art, 
And  drink  again  of  classic  lore 


BY  VARIOUS  PERSONS.  263 

"  Nor  haply  wilt  thou  deem  it  wrong, 

When  not  in  mood  too  gravely  wise, 
At  idle  length  to  lie  along, 

And  quatf  a  bliss  from  bluest  skies. 

"  Or  pleased  more  pensive  joy  to  woo, 

At  falling  eve,  by  ruin  gray, 
Move  o'er  the  generations  who 

Have  passed,  as  we  must  pass,  away. 

"  Or  mark,  o'er  olive-tree  and  vine, 

Steep  towns  uphung,  to  win  from  them 
Some  thought  of  Southern  Palestine, 

Some  dream  of  old  Jerusalem.  J.  K." 

Lines  written  by  R.  Bernal,  Esq. : 

TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 
"  When  wintry  winds  in  wild  career 
Howl  requiems  for  the  by-gone  year, 
And  thought,  responding  to  the  blast, 
With  sighs  reviews  the  gloomy  past ; 
Where  every  sorrow  leaves  its  trace, 
And  joy  obtains  no  resting-place  ; 
When,  sickening  from  the  dull  survey, 
Hope,  warmth,  and  energy  decay, 
What  mortal  charm  can  then  impart 
A  ray  of  sunshine  to  the  heart, 
And  by  its  healing  balm  dispense 
New  vigor  to  each  failing  sense  1 
On  one  bright  charm  alone  depend, 
The  feeling  of  a  genuine  friend, 
Whose  ready  sympathy  sincere, 
The  graces  of  her  mind  endear 
To  those  who  are  allowed  to  share 
Her  kindly  thoughts,  her  gen'rous  care 
Dear  lady  !  cruel  time,  I  feel, 
May  from  my  pen  refinement  steal : 
Should  language  fail  me  to  express 
The  grateful  thanks  I  would  confess, 
Believe  me  that  the  words  of  truth 
Bear  in  themselves  perpetual  youth." 

R.  BERNAL,  January  2d,  1849. 

From  J.  H.  Jesse,  Esq.,  20th  March,  1840 : 


264  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

"  In  your  gay  favored  leaves  I  am  ordered  to  write, 

Where  wit  on  poetical  verdure  reposes  ; 
But  I  fear  I  shall  prove,  in  those  pages  so  bright, 

To  use  the  count's  phrase,  like  a  pig  among  roses. 
"  Should  this  lay,  in  your  book,  with  the  verses  entwine 
Of  painters,  bards,  sculptors,  blue-ribbons,  and  earls, 
Instead  of  the  pearls  being  thrown  among  swine, 

I  fear  that  the  swine  will  be  thrown  among  pearls. 
"  But  should  you  find  room  in  your  splendid  parterre 

Of  fancy  and  wit  for  a  slave  so  devout, 
Though  a  pig  among  flow'rs  is  a  sight  rather  rare, 

At  least  he's  an  excellent  hand  at  a  rout. 
"  In  pity  accept  this  nonsensical  lay 

Instead  of  my  promised  historical  lore  ; 
I  but  wish  to  escape  from  the  grave  to  the  gay, 

Lest  the  pig,  to  your  sorrow,  should  turn  out  a  boar. 
"  But  your  '  wonderful  pig'  must  give  over  his  feats, 

And  endeavor  to  quench  his  poetical  fire, 
Lest,  striving  to  enter  a  garden  of  sweets, 

In  the  end  he  should  find  himself  sunk  in  the  mire. 

"J.  H.  JESSE." 

THE  COUNTESS  OF  BLESSINGTON'S  SOIREE. 
"  By  genius  enlivened,  here  splendidly  bright 
Are  the  rays  which  adorn  and  embellish  her  '  night !' 
While  '  the  nine'  shed  their  influence  down  from  above, 
To  unite  taste  and  wit  with  the  charms  of  '  the  grove.' 

"OCTOGENAKIUS.* 
"  Mount  Radford,  Exeter." 

IMPROMPTU.— ON   A   SMALL  VOLUME   OF  POEMS   BEING   PLACED  IN   THE 
LIBRARY  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

"  What  '  earthly'  was  before,  is  now  'divine  ;' 
Minerva's  priestess  placed  it  in  her  shrine. 

"  OCTOGENARIUS. 

"Exeter,  September  10th,  1842." 

Lines  addressed  to  Lady  Blessington  (no  name  or  date) : 
"  .Some  dear  friend  a  present  has  made  me 

Of  an  instrument  armed  like  a  dart ; 
But  the  warning  of  witches  forbade  me 
To  use  it  secundum  the  art. 

*  The  writer  occasionally  signed  his  letters  to  Lady  Blessington,  and  his  nu 
merous  poetical  effusions,  "  Pilgrim."  Mount  Radford,  I  think,  near  Exeter,  was 
the  name  of  a  property  of  one  of  the  Barings  some  thirty  years  ago. 


BY  VARIOUS  PERSONS.  265 

"  It  may  be  by  some  fairy  designed, 

A  blow  aimed  through  my  lips  at  my  heart ; 
Ah  !  my  heart  has  already  resigned, 

And  my  lips  claimed  their  share  of  the  smart !" 

Inclosed  in  a  letter  of  Dr.  "VV.  Beattie  : 

THE  CLOSING  YEAR. 
"  Cosi  trapassa — a'l  trapassar'  d'un  giorno." 
"  Could  time  contract  the  heart 

As  time  contracts  our  years, 
I'd  weep,  to  see  my  days  depart, 
In  undissembled  tears. 

"  But  no  !  the  mind  expands 

As  time  pursues  its  flight, 
And  sheds  upon  our  ebbing  sands 
A  sweeter,  holier  light. 

"If  time  could  steel  the  breast 

To  human  weal  or  woe, 
Then  would  I  long  to  be  at  rest, 
And  deem  it  time  to  go. 

"  But  no  !  while  I  can  cheer 

One  sad  or  stricken  heart, 
Unreckoned  let  my  days  appear, 
Unmourned  let  them  depart. 

"Time,  reckoned  by  our  deeds, 
And  not  by  length  of  days, 
Is  often  blessed  where  it  speeds — 
Unbless'd  where  it  delays. 

"  But  oh  !  when  deaf  to  human  sighs, 

When  dead  to  human  woes, 
Then  drop  the  curtain  !   close  my  eyes, 

And  leave  me  to  repose  ! 
4  December  30,  1840." 

P.S. 
"  Such,  lady,  is  the  creed 

Thy  gifted  pen  has  taught, 
And  well  the  daily-practiced  deed 
Gives  body  to  the  thought. 

"  Thy  mind's  an  intellectual  fount 

Where  genius  plumes  her  wing, 
And  fancy's  flowers,  like  Eden's  bowers, 

Enjoy  perennial  spring !" 
VOL.  T.— M 


-266  LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON 

Lines  of  Dr.  Win.  Beattie  to  the  Countess  of  Blessington,  on 
perusing  "  The  Book  of  Beauty"  for  1839  : 
"  As  Dian,  'mid  yon  isles  of  light, 
"With  starry  train  illumes  the  region, 
So,  lady,  here,  with  eyes  as  bright, 
Thou  lead'st  abroad  thy  starry  legion. 
All  marshaled  in  thy  brilliant  book, 
"What  fascinations  fix  the  reader  ! 
Ah  !  when  had  stars  so  bright  a  look, 
Or  when  had  beauty  such  a  leader  ! 

"  And  gazing  on  that  starry  train, 
In  each  methinks  I  see  the  token 
Of  conquests  won,  of  suitors  slain, 
Of  heads  they've  turned,  and  hearts  they've  broken. 
Lady,  thy  task  is  nobly  done  ; 
Who  else  could  have  performed  the  duty  ' 
Where  find,  unless  in  Blessington, 
The  synonym  for  wit  and  beauty  '! 
"  Xov.  7th,  1838." 

Lines  "  SA  1'Arabe,"  to  Lady  Blessington,  by  an  Eastern  trav 
eler  : 

•'  If  e'er  the  price  of  tinder  rise, 

To  smoking  as  I'm  given, 
I'll  light  my  pipe  at  your  bright  eye^, 
And  steal  my  fire  from  heaven. 

"  In  Paynim  climes,  when  forced  to  sip 

Cold  water  through  devotion, 
I'd  think  the  cup  had  touched  your  lip, 
To  nectarize  my  potion. 

"  If  dread  simoom  swept  o'er  my  tent, 

I'd  call  hack  scenes  enchanting  : 
On  blissful  hours  in  Naples  spent. 
And  your  abode  descanting. 

"  In  that  eclipse  which  lately  threw 

Half  Naples  into  terror, 
When  it  was  very  clear  Unit  you 
Had  breathed  upon  your  mirror  ; 

"  Tn  antres  vast  and  desert  wild, 

With  jackals  screaming  round  me, 
I'd  dream  of  you  when  toil  and  fright 
'  Tn  slumber's  chain  hud  bound  me.' 


BY  VARIOUS  PERSONS.  267 

"  I'd  fancy  beauty's  queen,  arrayed 

In  smiles,  was  watching  o'er  me  ; 
And,  waking,  find  the  picture  laid 

Of  Lady  B before  me.  R  R  M 

"Rome,  Feb.,  1828." 


From  Mrs.  P s  to  Lady  Blcssington,  St.  James's  Square  : 

••  In  this  frigid  season  of  stupefied  spleen, 
October,  when  nothing  goes  down  but  the  queen" 
(Though  lately  her  majesty  seems  to  get  up), 
»So  oft  is  the  slip  'twixt  the  lip  and  the  cup, 
Methinks  it  were  proper,  of  one  of  my  trips 
By  sea,  in  the  steam  vessel  call'd  the  Eclipse, 
I  with  pen,  ink,  and  paper,  and  table  and  chair, 
Indite  to  my who  lives  in  the  square. 

*:  Oh  say  what  philosopher  found  out  in  steam, 
That  wonderful  property  stemming  a  stream  : 
It  could  not  be  Locke,  for  a  lock  dams  the  splasher ; 
It  could  not  be  Bacon,  that  makes  sailors  rasher. 
It  is  not  »SVr  Isaac  the  vessel  that  urges, 
Though  certainly  eyes  acJic  when  looking  on  surges : 
Descartes  sounds  more  like  it ;   for  Gallican  art 
Moves  over  the  waves  by  assistance  dcs  cartes : 
No  !  now  I  remember  :  the  man  who  by  toil 
Of  noddle,  and  midnight  consumption  of  oil, 
First  hit  upon  steam,  was  Philosopher  Boyle. 

"  This  learned  discussion  has  made  me  forget: 
Proceed  we  to  sing  of  our  voyage  from  Margate. 
As  the  clock  sounded  eight,  I  myself  and  my  maiden 
(Having  coiFee'd  at  Broadstairs),  with  bandboxes  laden, 
Both  spurning  the  pier,  and  the  coast  out  of  reach  of 
(If  spurning  a  Peer  should  be  privilege  breach  of, 
Keep  this  to  yourself,  and  if  sworn  on  the  Bible, 
Lest  the  Lords,  in  a  rage,  should  commit  for  the  libel), 
Embark'd  on  the  main,  which,  erst  tranquil  and  steady, 
.Soon  heaved,  like  the  tragical  chest  of  Macready. 
One  Mr.  Mac-Donald  on  board  also  came 
(Related,  I'm  told,  to  the  lord  of  that  name), 
And  Smith,  christened  James  :  of  the  whole  of  the  crew, 
These  twain  were  the  only  two  people  I  knew. 

*  The  Queen  Caroline.  This  poetical  epistle  is  not  dated  ;  but,  as  Lady  Bless- 
ington  was  not  living  in  St.  James's  Square  after  1822,  nor  previous  to  1816,  the 
epistle  must  have  been  written  in  the  interval. 


LINES  ADDRESSED  TO  LADY  BLESSINGTON. 

I  straight  introduced  both  these  voyagers  witli 
'Mr.  Smith,  Mr.  Mac — Mr.  Mac,  Mr.  Smith  ;' 
We  then  talk'd  a  trio,  harmonious  together, 
Of  Naples,  and  Spain,  and  the  queen,  and  the  weather, 
Of  Margate,  its  windmills,  its  balls,  and  of  raffles, 
Of  misses  in  curls,  and  of  donkeys  in  snaffles  : 
In  gay  sprightly  pace,  though  I  sing  it  in  dull  verso, 
Then  pass'd  the  two  steeples  they  call  the  Reculvers, 
When,  finding  Dan  Phoebus  preparing  to  unshine. 
We  entered  the  cabin  and  ordered  a  luncheon. 
But  ere  we  went  down,  I  forgot  to  inform 
Your  ladyship,  Jupiter  pour'd  down  a  storm. 
Smith  raised  his  umbrella,  my  kid  leather  shoes, 
Unused  to  such  scenes,  were  beginning  to  ooze. 
When  a  German,  who  look'd  at  me,  all  in  a  float, 
Most  civilly  lent  me  his  wrapping  great-coat. 
Thus  muffled,  while  Iris  poured  rain  from  her  window, 
I  looked  like  a  sylph  keeping  watch  on  Belinda. 
I  laugh'd  at  the  tempest  this  tunic  of  drab  in, 
But  laid  it  aside  when  we  enter'd  the  cabin. 
There  hanging  my  straw  bonnet  up  on  a  peg, 
Sitting  down  on  a  stool  with  a  rickety  leg, 
And  doffing  my  shawl  to  sit  down  to  my  meal, 
I  flatter  myself  I  look'd  rather  genteel. 
Smith  sat  with  each  leg  on  the  side  of  a  column. 
Which  check'd  him  in  eating,  and  made  him  look  solemn. 
So,  hastily  quitting  our  scats  when  we  all  had 
Sufficient  cold  lamb,  beef,  potatoes,  and  salad, 
I  went  upon  deck,  and  when  seated  upon  it, 
I  put  on  again  my  drab  wrapper  and  bonnet. 
A  woman  and  daughter  had  borrowed  the  streamer 
That  floats,  red  and  white,  from  the  stern  of  the  stoainor  • 
This  form'd  a  deck-tent,  and  from  Jupiter's  thunder  it 
Guarded  us  safely  ;  'twas  nothing  to  wonder  at, 
For  '  non  mi  ricordo'  that  any  slept  under  it ! 
When  qualms  (not  of  conscience)  seized  one  of  the  crew, 
To  a  berth  near  the  chimney  I  quickly  withdrew, 
And  beat  with  my  right  foot  the  devil's  tattoo. 
Of  one  of  our  minstrels,  an  Irish  Pan  d  re  an, 
I  asked  if  that  ocean  was  call'd  the  ./Egean ; 
If  it  was  not,  old  (Juthrie  was  born  to  confound  mo, 
For  /'//  swear  that  the  cyc-ladcs*  circled  around  me. 
We  pass'd  on  our  left  the  four  hanging  Lascars, 
Who  peep  at  the  moon  and  keep  watch  at  the  stars ; 
*  Two  sir-k  ladies. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  359 

Just  opposite  South-end  we  plump'd  on  a  porpoise, 
Uncommonly  like  Stephen  Kemble  in  corpus  ; 
In  temper  like  Gerard,  whose  surname  is  Noel, 
In  swimming  like  Twiss,  and  in  color  like  Powell. 
And  when  we  were  properly  soak'd,  at  the  hour 
Of  five,  anchored  safely  athwart  of  the  Tower. 

"  The  scene  that  ensued  when  we  swung  by  a  cable, 
The  mixture  of  voices  out-babeling  Babel — 
What  scrambling  for  bandboxes,  handkerchiefs,  caskets, 
Trunks,  carpet  bags,  brown  paper  parcels,  and  baskets, 
While  the  captain  stood  quietly  wetting  his  whistle, 
Must  all  be  reserved  for  another  epistle, 
For  my  paper  scrawled  o'er  is  of  no  further  service. 

"  Adieu,  your  affectionate  ever,  E.  P s." 


CHAPTER  XIII. 

NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'oRSAY  '.  HIS  ORIGIN. SOME  AC 
COUNT  OF  HIS  EARLY  LIFE,  THE  CLOSE  OF  HIS  CAREER,  AND  OB 
SERVATIONS  ON  HIS  TALENTS  AND  THE  APPLICATION  OF  THEM.* 

ALFRED  GUILLAUME  GABRIEL  COMTE  D'ORSAY  was  born  the 
4th  of  September,  1801.  His  father,  Albert  Comtc  D'Orsay, 
who  was  considered  one  of  the  finest-looking  men  of  his  time, 
early  entered  the  army,  and  served  with  great  distinction  under 
Napoleon,  who  was  wont  to  say  of  him  that  he  was  "  aussi  brave 
qut  beau.'"  His  mother,  a  woman  no  less  remarkable  for  her 
wit,  and  noble  and  generous  disposition,  than  for  her  beauty,  was 
a  daughter  of  the  King  of  Wurtemberg  by  a  marriage  which  was 
good  in  religion,  though  not  in  law.  The  family  of  D'Orsay  was 
a  very  ancient  one,  and  formerly  held  large  possessions  both  in 
Paris  and  in  the  provinces.  The  grandfather  of  the  late  Comte 
D'Orsay  was  one  of  the  most  liberal  patrons  of  art  of  his  day. 
His  collection  of  pictures  and  statues  was  singularly  fine  and 
valuable.  Several  of  the  latter,  which  were  seized  in  the  first 
revolution,  that  disastrous  period  when  he  lost  nearly  the  whole 
of  his  fortune,  now  form  a  part  of  the  statuary  which  decorates 
*  For  a  large  portion  of  the  details  of  this  memoir,  extending  to  the  period  of 
D'Orsay's  last  sojourn  in  Paris,  I  am  indebted  to  a  lady  very  intimately  acquainted 
with  the  count  in  his  brighter  days,  as  well  as  in  his  latest  moments. 


270  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

the  Place  Louis  Q,uinze  and  the  gardens  of  the  Tuilleries.  The 
fact  of  their  belonging  to  the  house  of  D'Orsay  was  admitted  by 
subsequent  governments.  Louis  Philippe,  only  a  short  time  be 
fore  his  expulsion  from  France,  was  in  treaty  with  Comte  D'Or 
say  to  pay  an  annual  sum  to  retain  the  statues  in  their  present 
places,  having  refused  to  restore  them.  After  the  abdication  of 
Napoleon,  General  D'Orsay  entered  the  service  of  the  Bourbons. 

The  eldest  son  of  the  general  having  died  in  infancy,  the  fam- 
ily  consisted  of  two  children — Alfred  and  a  daughter,  Ida,  the 
present  Duchcsse  de  Grammont,  a  year  younger  than  her  brother. 
From  his  earliest  infancy,  Alfred  D'Orsay  gave  token  of  the  re 
markable  physical  and  mental  superiority  which  distinguished 
his  manhood.  As  a  child  and  boy,  his  remarkable  comeliness, 
strength,  and  adroitness  in  all  exercises,  ready  wit  and  intelli 
gence,  facility  of  acquiring  knowledge,  high  spirit,  the  frankness 
of  his  nature,  the  chivalrous  generosity  of  his  disposition,  made 
him  a  general  favorite  with  young  and  old. 

At  a  very  early  age  he  entered  the  army,  and  somewhat  later, 
very  unwilling]}',  the  garde  da  corps  of  the  restored  Bourbon 
sovereign.  All  his  sympathies  during  the  whole  of  his  life 
were  with  the  Bonaparte  family.  The  ardent  enthusiasm  in 
spired  in  his  boyish  mind  by  Napoleon  (whose  page  he  was  to 
have  been)  kept  possession  of  his  mind  in  after  years.  So  far 
was  the  feeling  carried,  that  at  the  entrance  of  the  Bourbons 
into  Paris,  though  but  a  mere  boy,  he  betook  himself  to  a  retired 
part  of  the  house,  that  he  might  not  see  or  hear  the  rejoicings 
that  were  made  for  the  downfall  of  Napoleon  and  his  empire, 
and  gave  vent  to  his  feelings  in  tears  and  strong  expressions  of 
repugnance  to  the  new  regime.  \Vhen  in  the  army,  he  was 
greatly  beloved  by  the  men.  whose  comfort!?  and  interests  he 
looked  to  with  the  utmost  care.  Their  nlleclion  for  his  person 
was  equaled  only  by  the  admiration  excited  by  his  feats  of 
strength  and  superiority  over  his  comrades  in  all  manly  exer 
cises. 

Some  of  the  traits  of  his  garrison  life,  though  trifling  ill  them 
selves,  are  too  characteristic  to  be  left  unnoticed.  At  the  pro 
vincial  balls,  where  his  repute  as  a  man  of  fashion,  of  family, 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 


271 


and  of  various  accomplishments  had  made  itself  known,  and  ren 
dered  him  a  leading  object  of  attention  ;  he  used  to  be  jeered 
by  his  brother  officers  for  his  apparent  predilection  for  persons 
not  remarkable  for  their  personal  attractions,  as  he  made  it  a 
practice  to  single  out  the  plainest  girls  present  to  dance  with, 
and  to  pay  the  greatest  attention  to  those  who  seemed  most  neg 
lected  or  unnoticed.  There  was  no  affectation  of  any  kind  about 
him  ;  whatever  he  did  that  appeared  considerate  or  amiable  was 
done  simply  from  natural  kindness  of  disposition. 

On  one  occasion,  living  out  of  barracks,  he  lodged  at  the  house 
of  a  widow  with  a  son  and  two  daughters  ;  the  son,  a  young,  ro 
bust  man  of  a  violent  temper  and  of  considerable  bodily  strength, 
was  in  the  habit  of  treating  his  mother  and  sisters  with  brutal 
ity.  Comte  D'Orsay,  one  day  while  in  his  room,  hearing  a  loud 
noise  and  tumult  in  the  apartments  of  his  hostess  and  her  daugh 
ters  on  the  ground  floor,  descended  to  ascertain  the  cause,  and 
finding  the  young  man  offering  acts  of  violence  to  his  mother, 
fell  upon  him,  and  notwithstanding  the  powerful  resistance  of 
his  formidable  opponent,  wrhose  rage  had  been  turned  against 
him,  inflicted  such  severe  chastisement  on  him  that  quarter  was 
soon  called  for.  The  count  then,  with  his  characteristic  quie 
tude  of  manner  in  the  midst  of  any  excitement  or  turmoil,  ended 
the  scene  by  assuring  the  subdued  bully  that  any  repetition  of 
his  violence  on  his  family  would  meet  with  punishment  far  ex 
ceeding  in  severity  that  which  he  had  the  trouble  of  bestowing 
on  that  occasion. 

Comte  D'Orsay's  first  visit  to  England  was  in  the  year  1821 
or  1822.  He  came  in  company  with  his  sister  and  her  husband, 
then  Due  de  Guiche,  who,  in  the  previous  emigration,  had  been 
educated  and  brought  up  in  England,  had  served  in  an  English 
regiment  (of  dragoons),  and  who  had  a  sister  married  to  the 
Viscount  Ossulston,  now  Earl  of  Tankerville  ;  consequently,  the 
Duke  de  Guiche  already  held  a  position  in  English  society  cal 
culated  to  insure  the  best  reception  for  his  brother-in-law  in  the 
first  circles  of  London  society. 

In  that  visit,  which  was  but  brief,  the  young  count,  accustom 
ed  to  manners  and  customs  of  a  world  of  fashion  differing  very 


272  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

materially  from  that  of  London,  formed  that  hasty  judgment  of 
English  society,  erroneous  in  the  main,  hut  in  its  application  to 
a  portion  of  it  not  without  a  certain  "basis  of  truth.  Byron's  eu 
logistic  expressions  on  the  perusal  of  the  journal  could  not  fail 
to  be  very  gratifying  to  the  writer  of  it.  Bufr  the  riper  judg 
ment  and  later  experience  of  the  count  led  to  the  formation  of 
other  opinions,  and  induced  him  to  destroy  the  diary,  and  the 
reason  given  for  its  destruction  was  ';  lest  at  any  time  the  ideas 
there  expressed  should  be  put  forth  as  his  matured  opinions." 
Byron,  in  a  letter  to  Moore,  dated  April  2,  1823,  thus  refers  to 
the  arrival  at  Genoa  of  the  Blcssingtons  and  the  Count  D'Orsay, 
a  French  count,  "  who  has  all  the  air  of  a  cupidon  dcchaine,  and 
is  one  of  the  few  specimens  I  have  ever  seen  of  our  ideal  of  a 
Frenchman  before  the  Revolution." 

To  Lord  Blessington  his  lordship  writes  : 

"  April  5th,  1823. 

"Mv  DEAR  LORD, — How  is  your  gout]  or,  rather,  how  are  you]  I  return 
the  Count  D'Orsay's  journal,  which  is  a  very  extraordinary  production,  and  of 
a  most  melancholy  truth  in  all  that  regards  high  life  in  England.  I  know,  or 
knew  personally,  most  of  the  personages  and  societies  which  he  describes  ; 
and  after  reading  his  remarks,  have  the  sensation  fresh  upon  me  as  if  I  had 
.seen  them  yesterday.  I  would,  however,  plead  in  behalf  of  some  few  excep 
tions,  which  I  will  mention  by-and-by.  The  most  singular  thing  is,  how  he 
should  have  penetrated,  not  the  facts,  but  the  mystery  of  the  English  ennui,  at 
two-and-twenty.  I  was  about  the  same  age  when  I  made  the  same  discov 
ery,  in  almost  precisely  the  same  circles — for  there  is  scarcely  a  person  whom 
I  did  not  see  nightly  or  daily,  and  was  acquainted  more  or  less  intimately  with 
most  of  them — but  I  never  could  have  discovered  it  so  well,  II  faut  ctre  Fran- 
fais  to  effect  this.  But  he  ought  alwo  to  have  been  in  the  country  during  the 
hunting  season,  with  a  '  select  party  of  distinguished  guests,'  as  the  papers 
term  it.  He  ought  to  have  seen  the  gentlemen  after  dinner  (on  the  hunting 
days),  and  the  soiree  ensuing  thereupon,  and  the  women  looking  as  if  they 
had  hunted,  or  rather  been  hunted  ;  and  I  could  have  wished  that  he  had  been 
at  a  dinner  in  town,  which  I  recollect  at  Lord  Cowper's — small,  but  select, 

and  composed  of  the  most  amusing  people Altogether,  your  friend's 

journal  is  a  very  formidable  production.  Alas  !  our  dearly  beloved  country 
men  have  only  discovered  that  they  are  tired,  and  not  that  they  are  tiresome  ; 
and  I  suspect  that  the  communication  of  the  latter  unpleasant  verity  will  not 
be  better  received  than  truths  usually  arc.  I  have  read  the  whole  with  great 
attention  and  instruction — I  am  too  good  a  patriot  to  say  pleasure — at  least  T 
won't  say  so,  whatever  I  may  think.  I  showed  it  (I  hope  no  breach  of  conn- 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  273 

dence)  to  a  young  Italian  lady  of  rank,  trcs  instruite  also ;  and  who  passes, 
or  passed,  for  being  one  of  the  most  celebrated  belles  in  the  district  of  Italy 
where  her  family  and  connections  resided  in  less  troublesome  times  as  to  pol 
itics  (which  is  not  Genoa,  by-the-way),  and  she  was  delighted  with  it,  and 
says  that  she  has  derived  a  better  notion  of  English  society  from  it  than  from 
all  Madame  de  StaeTs  metaphysical  disputations  on  the  same  subject  in  her 
work  on  the  Revolution.  I  beg  that  you  will  thank  the  young  philosopher, 

and  make  my  compliments  to  Lady  13 and  her  sister. 

"  Believe  me,  your  very  obliged  and  faithful,  BYRON." 

Ill  subsequent  letters  to  Lord  Blcssington,  Byron  repeatedly 
returns  to  the  subject  of  the  count's  English  journal.  One  writ 
ten  on  the  6th  of  April  (the  very  day  after  that  before  quoted), 
to  condole  with  the  Earl  of  Blessington  on  the  death  of  his  only 
son,  thus  concludes  :  "  I  beg  my  compliments  to  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  Miss  Power,  and  to  your  Alfred.  I  think,  since  his  majesty 
of  the  same  name,  there  has  not  been  such  a  learned  surveyor 
of  our  Saxon,  society."  Again,  on  the  9th,  "I  salute  the  illus 
trious  Chevalier  Count  D'Orsay,  who,  I  hope,  will  continue  his 
History  of  His  Own  Times.  There  are  some  strange  coinci 
dences  between  a  part  of  his  remarks  and  a  certain  work  of 
mine  now  in  MS.  in  England  (I  do  not  mean  the  hermetically- 
sealed  memoirs,  but  a  continuation  of  certain  cantos  of  a  certain 
poem),  especially  in  what  a  man  may  do  in  London  with  impu 
nity  while  he  is  a  la  mode."  And  in  a  letter  which  Mr.  Moore 
did  not  print  at  length,  Byron  said  of  D'Orsay,  "  He  seems  to 
have  all  the  qualities  requisite  to  have  figured  in  his  brother-in- 
law's  ancestor's  Memoirs" — alluding  to  the  famous  Memoirs  of 
Grammont. 

Byron's  approbation  of  D'Orsay 's  diary  was  given  in  the  fol 
lowing  characteristic  terms  : 

"April  22,  1823. — My  dear  Count  D'Orsay  (if  you  will  per 
mit  me  to  address  you  so  familiarly),  you  should  be  content  with 
writing  in  your  own  language,  like  Grammont,  and  succeeding  in 
London  as  nobody  has  succeeded  since  the  days  of  Charles  the 
Second,  and  the  records  of  Antonio  Hamilton,  without  deviating 
into  our  barbarous  language,  which  you  understand  and  write, 
however,  much  better  than  it  deserves.  '  My  approbation,'  as 
you  are  pleased  to  term  it.  was  very  sincere,  but  perhaps  not 

M  :/ 


274  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

very  impartial ;  for,  though  I  love  my  country,  I  do  not  love  my 
countrymen — at  least,  such  as  they  now  are.  And  besides  the 
seduction  of  talent  arid  wit  in  your  work,  I  fear  that  to  me  there 
was  the  attraction  of  vengeance.  I  have  seen  and  felt  much  of 
what  you  have  described  so  well.  I  have  known  the  persons 
and  the  reunions  described  (many  of  them,  that  is  to  say),  and 
the  portraits  arc  so  like,  that  I  can  not  but  admire  the  painter 
no  less  than  his  performance.  But  I  am  sorry  for  you  ;  for  if 
you  are  so  well  acquainted  with  life  at  your  age,  what  will  be 
come  of  you  when  the  illusion  is  still  more  dissipated  ?" 

The  illusion  was  wholly  dissipated,  but  only  a  few  months 
before  D'Orsay's  death. 

On  the  6th  of  May  following,  his  lordship  writes  to  Lady 
Blessington : 

"  I  have  a  request  to  make  my  friend  Alfred  (since  he  has  not 
disdained  the  title),  viz.,  that  he  would  condescend  to  add  a  cap 
to  the  gentleman  in  the  jacket — it  would  complete  his  costume, 
and  smooth  his  brow,  which  is  somewhat  too  inveterate  a  like 
ness  of  the  original,  God  help  me  !" 

The  diary  of  Count  D'Orsay,  illustrative  of  London  fashion 
able  life,  which  was  pronounced  by  such  competent  authority  to 
be  equal  to  any  thing  Count  de  Grammont  has  left  us  about  con 
temporary  frivolity,  is  said  by  others  to  have  surpassed  the  me 
moirs  of  the  latter  in  genuine  wit  and  humor. 

The  Duchesse  de  Grammont  has  the  papers  of  Count  D'Or 
say,  and  a  portion  of  the  effects  ;  most  of  the  latter  were  sold  to 
pay  debts.  His  journal  was  burned  by  himself  some  years  back. 

It  was  on  the  occasion  of  D'Orsay's  first  visit  to  London  that 
he  made  the  acquaintance  of  Lord  and  Lady  Blessington,  not  in 
garrison  in  France,  as  has  generally  but  erroneously  been  stated  ; 
neither  is  the  assertion  true  that  it  was  to  accompany  them  to 
Italy  that  he  abandoned  the  intention  of  joining  the  expedition 
to  ypain,  there  being  no  question  of  his  doing  so  at  the  period 
of  that  visit. 

> _At  the  earnest  desire  of  Lord  and  Lady  Blessington,  the  young 
Frenchman  became  one  of  the  party  in  their  tour  through  France 
mid  Ttaly.  During  thoir  jouruoy  nnrl  prolonged  sojourn  in  the 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'QRSAY.  275 

latter  country,  the  companionable  qualities,  and  that  peculiar 
power  of  making  himself  agreeable,  which  he  possessed  to  a 
degree  almost  unequaled,  so  endeared  him  to  his  English  friends, 
that  a  union  was  at  length  proposed  by  Lord  Blessing-ton  be 
tween  the  count  and  one  of  his  daughters,  both  of  whom  were 
then  in  Ireland  with  Lady  Harriet  Gardiner,  the  sister  of  Lord 
Blessington. 

This  proposition  meeting  the  approval  of  the  count's  family, 
it  was  finally  decided  that  Lady  Harriette,  the  younger  daugh 
ter,  should  become  his  wife,  and  she  was  accordingly  sent  for  to 
Italy,  where  the  marriage  was  celebrated.* 

After  a  long  Continental  tour,  and  a  sojourn  of  some  years  in 
Italy,  Lord  and  Lady  Blessington,  with  the  Count  and  Countess 
D'Orsay,  came  to  reside  in  Paris,  where,  in  1829,  Lord  Blessing- 
ton  died  of  apoplexy. 

During  the  Revolution  of  1830,  the  events  of  which  are  related 
by  Lady  Blessington  in  the  ';  Idler  in  France,"  Count  D'Orsay, 
during  the  most  dangerous  moments,  was  constantly  abroad  in 
the  streets  ;  and  on  more  than  one  occasion,  when  recognized, 
though  known  to  be  the  brother-in-law  of  the  Due  de  Guiche, 
one  of  the  staunchest  of  the  Legitimists,  he  was  greeted  by 
the  people  with  shouts  of"  Vive  le  Comte  D'Orsay  /"  Such  was 
the  influence  which  his  mere  presence  produced.  One  of  the 
proofs  of  the  effect  on  others  of  his  insinuating  manners  and  pre 
possessing  appearance  was  the  extreme  affection  and  confidence 
he  inspired  in  children,  of  whom  he  was  very  fond,  but  who 
usually  seemed  as  if  they  were  irresistibly  drawn  toward  him, 
even  before  he  attempted  to  win  them.  The  shyest  and  most 
reserved  were  no  more  proof  against  this  influence  than  the 


*  We  find  in  the  "  Annual  Register"  for  183f  an  account  of  the  marriage  cere 
mony  having  been  performed  at  Naples  by  the  chaplain  of  the  British  cmbassa- 
dor.  "At  Naples,  in  December  1827,  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay,  only  son  of  General 
Count  D'Orsay,  to  the  Lady  Harriette  Anne  Frances  Gardiner,  daughter  of  the 
Right  Hon.  the  Earl  of  Blessington."  Of  this  unhappy  marriage  an  account  has 
been  given  in  the  preceding  memoir,  and  the  sentiments  of  the  author  in  regard 
to  it  have  been  expressed  there.  Of  the  greatness  of  the  calamity  of  that  union, 
and  the  grievous  wrong  done  by  it  to  one  almost  a  child  in  years,  experience,  and 
understanding,  the  author  has  nothing  more  to  say  than  has  been  already  said  by 
him  on  that  painful  subject.  —  R.  R.  M 


070  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

most  confiding.  Children  who  in  general  would  hardly  venture 
to  look  at  a  stranger,  would  steal  to  his  side,  take  his  hand,  and 
seem  to  be  quite  happy  and  at  ease  when  they  were  near  him. 
The  same  power  of  setting  others  perfectly  at  their  ease  in  his 
presence  extended  to  his  influence  over  grown-up  persons. 

In  society  he  was  agreeable,  attentive,  kind,  and  considerate 
to  all ;  no  one  was  too  humble,  too  retiring,  too  little  au  fait  in 
the  modes  of  living,  acting,  and  thinking  of  those  among  whom 
he  might  be  accidentally  thrown,  to  be  beneath  his  notice,  or 
beyond  the  reach  of  his  extraordinary  power  of  finding  out  mer 
it,  devising  means  of  drawing  out  any  peculiar  talent  the  per 
son  might  possess,  or  of  discovering  some  topic  of  interest  to  the 
party  on  which  he  could  get  into  conversation  with  him.  Men 
of  all  opinions,  classes,  and  positions,  found  themselves  at  home 
with  him  on  some  particular  question  or  other  ;  and  this  not 
from  any  effort  or  any  unworthy  concession  on  his  part,  but 
from  a  natural  facility  of  adapting  himself  to  the  peculiarities  of 
those  around  him.  His  active  mind  sought  and  found  abundant 
occupation  in  such  conversational  exercise.  He  often  said  that 
"  he  had  never  known  the  meaning  of  the  word  cmiui" 

No  matter  where  or  with  whom  he  might  be,  he  found  means 
to  employ  his  mind  and  his  time  more  or  less  usefully  or  agree 
ably.  The  dullest  country -town  had  for  him  as  many  resources 
as  Paris  or  London.  Wherever  he  went,  he  Avas  disposed  to 
find  every  thing  interesting  and  good  in  its  way,  and  every  body 
capable  of  being  made  amusing  and  agreeable.  To  the  last, 
when  time,  grief,  and  disappointment,  the  loss  of  fortune,  friends, 
and  nearly  all  he  loved  best  on  earth,  might  well  be  supposed  to 
have  soured  his  disposition,  this  happy  turn  of  mind  yet  remain 
ed  unimpaired  as  in  his  eaj.iy  youth. 

Arrogance,  and  affectation,  and  purse-proud  insolence  alone 
found  him  severe  and  satirical :  on  these  his  keen  wit  and  re 
markable  powers  of  raillery  were  not  unfrequently  set,  and  per 
haps  his  only  enemies  were  those  who  had  fallen  under  his  lash, 
or  who  were  jealous  of  the  superiority  ot'his  talents. 

Some  months  after  the  death  of  Lord  Blessington,  Lady  Bless- 
ington  and  the  Count  and  Countess  D'Orsay  returned  to  England. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  377 

Shortly  before  the  death  of  Count  D'Orsay 's  mother,  who  en 
tertained  feelings  of  strong  attachment  for  Lady  Blessino-ton,  the 
former  had  spoken  with  great  earnestness  of  her  apprehensions 
for  her  son,  on  account  of  his  tendency  to  extravagance,  and  of 
lier  desire  that  Lady  Blessington  would  advise  and  counsel  him, 
and  do  her  utmost  to  counteract  those  propensities  which  had 
already  been  attended  with  embarrassments,  and  had  occasioned 
her  great  fears  for  his  welfare.  The  promise  that  was  given  on 
that  occasion  was  often  alluded  to  by  Lady  Blessington,  and, 
after  her  death,  by  Count  D'Orsay. 

A  variety  of  painful  circumstances,  which  have  no  place  in 
the  present  memoir,  led  to  a  break-up  of  the  establishment  of 
Lady  Blessington  in  Paris,  after  the  death  of  Lord  Blessington. 
On  her  return  to  London,  Lady  Blessington  took  a  house  in  Sea- 
more  Place,  and  Count  D'Orsay  one  in  Curzon  Street;  from 
thence  they  removed  to  Kensington  Gore — Lady  Blessington  to 
Gore  House,  Count  D'Orsay  to  a  small  dwelling  adjoining  it; 
but  finally  they  both  occupied  the  former  place  of  abode  till  the 
break-up  of  that  establishment  in  April,  1849. 

The  count  returned  to  his  native  country  after  a  residence 
of  nineteen  years  in  London.  In  Paris  he  was  joined  by  Lady 
Blessington  and  her  nieces,  the  Misses  Power,  shortly  after  his 
arrival ;  and  in  the  following  month  of  June  he  met,  in  her  loss, 
an  affliction,  from  the  effects  of  which  he  never  thoroughly  re 
covered. 

The  ensuing  year  he  realized  a  plan  he  had  formed  and  often 
spoken  of  in  happier  days.  He  hired  an  immense  studio,  with 
some  smaller  rooms  connected  with  it,  attached  to  the  house  of 
M.Gerdin,  the  celebrated  marine  painter.  Here  he  transported 
all  his  possessions  (consisting  chiefly  of  his  own  works  of  art, 
easels,  brushes,  paints,  &c.),  and  with  the  extraordinary  taste  and 
talent  for  arrangement  that  constituted  one  of  his  gifts,  a  large 
waste  room,  with  naked  loft,  became  transformed  into  one  of 
the  most  elegantly  fitted  up  and  admirably  disposed  studios  of 
Paris,  and,  at  the  same  time,  a  habitable  salon  of  great  beauty, 
combining  requisites  for  a  museum  en  miniature,  arid  objects  of 
virtu  and  art  sufficient  to  furnish  a  small  gallery.  In  this  salon 


278  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

he  might  be  said  to  be  domiciled.  Here  he  lived,  here  he  daily 
received  the  visits  of  some  of  the  greatest  celebrities  of  Europe  ; 
statesmen,  politicians,  diplomatists,  men  of  letters,  and  artists, 
were  his  constant  visitors  and  frequent  guests. 

The  ex-roi  Jerome  continued  to  be  one  of  the  most  faithful 
and  attached  of  his  friends.  The  paternal  affection  of  the  good 
old  man,  with  the  warm  regard  of  his  son,  the  Prince  Napoleon, 
formed  a  remarkable  contrast  to  the  conduct  of  others,  which 
fully  bore  out  the  observation,  "  There  are  some  benefits  so 
great  that  they  can  only  be  paid  by  the  blackest  ingratitude." 
The  ex-king  Jerome  never  swerved  in  his  affection  for  Count 
D'Orsay,  and  his  earnest  desire  was  to  see  him  elevated  to  a  post 
worthy  of  his  position  and  talents.  This  hope,  however,  was 
destined  to  be  defeated.  The  President  of  the  Republic  had 
nothing  in  common  with  the  exile  and  prisoner  of  Ham  ;  he  who 
had  long  and  largely  served,  counseled,  and  aided  in  various 
ways  the  latter,  through  good  report  and  evil  report  had  been  a 
faithful  friend  to  him,  was  looked  on  with  coldness  and  aver 
sion  when  he  proved  too  independent  and  high-spirited  to  be 
a  mere  servile,  opinioiiless  partisan  of  the  most  astute  as  well 
as  successful  conspirator  of  modern  times  ;  and  as  his  presence 
recalled  obligations  in  private  life,  he  became  an  object  of  jeal 
ousy,  his  services  a  disagreeable  souvenir.  The  poor  count 
pined  away,  long  expecting  an  appointment,  but  expecting  it  in 
vain.  His  health  broke  down,  and  when  it  was  completely 
broken  down,  Louis  Napoleon  conferred  on  his  friend  of  former 
days,  already  struck  by  the  hand  of  death,  the  nominal  post  of 
Director  of  Fine  Arts,  the  duties  of  which  office  he  was  no  longer 
able  to  perform.  The  prince  imagined,  by  the  tardy  act  of  grat 
itude,  he  had  screened  himself  from  the  just  reproaches  of  all 
who  knew  their  former  connection. 

Count  D'Orsay  was  struck  to  the  heart  by  ^ic  ingratitude  of 
Louis  Napoleon,  but  his  generous  nature  was  incapable  of  bit 
terness,  and  no  sentiment  of  animosity  was  engendered  by  it ; 
he  suffered  deeply  and  long  in  silence,  but  the  wound  festered, 
and  at  times  it  was  evident  enough  how  much  it  galled  him. 

From  thr»  period  of  Lady  Bles  si  niton's  death,  the  count  had 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  279 

given  up  general  society,  and  during  the  last  two  years  of  his 
life  he  confined  himself  almost  altogether  to  the  house,  receiving 
in  his  studio-salon  morning  visits  of  his  family  and  a  very  small 
circle  of  intimate  friends.  Lady  Blessington's  nieces,  the  com 
panions  of  his  happy  and  prosperous  days,  his  attendants  in 
those  of  sickness  and  sorrow,  some  members  of  his  familv,  his 
beloved  sister,  the  ex-roi  Jerome  and  his  son,  Emile  de  Girardin, 
Dr.  Cabarrus,  his  school-fellow,  the  son  of  the  celebrated  Mad 
am  Tallien,  and  the  well-known  Monsieur  Ouvrard,  Madam  de 

U—  — ,  the  Comtesse  of  D ,  were  among  the  last  in  whose 

constant  society  he  found  repose  and  pleasure  when  that  of 
others  had  lost  its  charm. 

In  the  spring  of  1852,  the  spinal  malady  which  finally  proved 
fatal  declared  itself,  and  then  commenced  a  long  series  of  suf 
ferings,  which  ended  but  with  his  life — sufferings  endured  with 
fortitude,  patience,  uncomplaining  gentleness,  a  manifest  ab 
sence  of  all  selfishness,  and  consideration  for  those  attending  on 
him,  which  none  but  those  whose  painful  task  it  was  to  watch 
by  his  couch  could  form  any  idea  of. 

In  the  month  of  July  he  was  ordered  to  Dieppe  as  a  last  re 
source,  and  thither  he  was  accompanied  by  Lady  Blessington's 
nieces.  From  the  time  of  his  arrival  in  Dieppe  he  sunk  rap 
idly  ;  at  the  end  of  the  month  he  returned  to  Paris  dying,  and 
on  the  4th  of  August,  1852,  breathed  his  last,  surrounded  by 
those  whose  unremitting  care  had  been  the  last  consolation  of 
his  declining  days. 

During  his  illness  he  had  more  than  once  been  visited  by  the 
excellent  Archbishop  of  Paris,  though  a  comparatively  late  ac 
quaintance,  who  entertained  for  him  a  warm  regard. 

Two  days  previous  to  his  decease,  the  archbishop  had  a  long 
conversation  with  him,  arid  at  parting  embraced  him,  assuring 
him  of  his  friendship  and  affectionate  regard.*  The  following 
day,  the  last  of  his  existence,  he  received  the  consolations  of 
religion  from  the  cure  of  Chambourcy.  For  the  church  of  this 
good  priest  he  had  done  a  great  deal :  he  had  restored  many 

*  "  J'ai  pour  vous  plus  quo  de  I'arnilie,  j'ai  do  1'affection,"  wore-  the  archhish- 
op's  words. 


280  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

of  the  pictures,  and  bestowed  the  original  picture  of  the  Mater 
Dolorosa,  which  had  been  painted  by  himself  expressly  for  the 
church,  the  lithograph  of  which  is  well  known,  and  is  sold  un 
der  the  title  of  the  Magdalen,  though  why  thus  called  it  would 
be  difficult  to  say. 

Thus  terminated,  at  the  age  of  fifty-one  years,  the  existence 
of  this  highly-gifted  man,  when  hardly  beyond  the  prime  of  life. 

An  innate  love  of  all  that  was  beautiful  in  nature  and  excel 
lent  in  art,  a  generous,  chivalrous  nature,  strong  sympathies  with 
suffering,  ardent  feelings,  a  kindly  disposition,  elegant  tastes, 
and  fine  talents,  capable  of  being  turned  in  almost  any  pursuit 
to  an  excellent  account,  these  were  the  distinguishing  charac 
teristics  of  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay. 

Many  gifts  and  advantages,  natural  and  intellectual,  were 
united  in  him.  To  remarkable  personal  comeliness  were  added 
great  strength  and  courage,  which  nothing  could  daunt,  and  an 
adroitness  which  enabled  him  to  excel  in  every  thing  he  at 
tempted.  He  was  one  of  the  best  horsemen,  the  best  shots,  the 
best  fencers,  and  the  best  boxers  of  his  day.  His  talents  as  a 
painter  and  sculptor,  though  wanting  cultivation  and  study,  were 
of  the  first  order  ;  he  had  an  excellent  ear,  and  some  taste  for 
music,  with  a  tolerable  tenor  voice,  which,  however,  he  very 
rarely  exercised.  His  wit  was  keen  and  brilliant,  his  taste  in 
all  matters  of  dress,  furniture,  and  equipage,  as  well  as  in  art, 
excellent.  In  his  mind  and  his  manners  there  was  a  singular 
mixture  of  refinement,  simplicity,  warmth,  and  frankness,  very 
productive  of  strongly  pleasing  impressions.  Generous  to  lav- 
ishness,  frank  to  indiscretion,  unsuspicious  to  credulity,  disinter 
ested  to  imprudence,  his  defects  were,  in  the  eyes  of  his  ardent 
friends,  the  excesses  of  his  noble  qualities.  He  has  been  often 
heard  to  say  that  he  would  prefer  being  deceived  a  hundred 
times  rather  than  suspect  another  unjustly.  He  had  a  great 
horror  of  scandal,  and  possessed  chivalrous  feelings,  which  led 
him  always  to  take  the  part  of  those  who  were  violently  assail 
ed,  absent  or  present,  known  to  him  or  utter  strangers. 

During  his  residence  at  Gore  House  he  was  a  generous  bene 
factor  to  those  of  his  nation  who  required  alms,  encouragement. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  281 

assistance,  introductions,  hospitality.  From  Louis  Napoleon  to 
the  poorest  exile,  his  services  were  rendered  with  a  frank,  earn 
est  good-will,  and  a  considerate  delicacy  and  sympathy  for  mis 
fortune,  that  increased  the  value  of  his  assistance.  He  founded 
the  Socicte  dc  Bienfaisance,  still  existing  in  London,  for  the  bene 
fit  of  his  distressed  countrymen,  nor  was  his  aid  ever  withheld 
from  the  poor  or  suffering  of  his  adopted  country,  for  his  admi 
ration  for  England  ended  only  with  his  life. 

In  his  temper,  either  in  sickness  or  in  health,  he  was  never 
irritable  nor  morose.  Those  who  were  about  him  and  in  attend 
ance  on  him  said,  "  They  never  knew  any  one  so  easy  to  live 
with,  so  little  given  to  find  fault." 

But  there  was  one  thing  in  his  demeanor  and  carriage  of  a 
very  marked  and  distinguished  character ;  the  high  bearing, 
proud  spirit,  and  strong  energy  of  a  nobly  constituted  man  were 
mingled  with  the  gentleness,  the  sensibility,  self-devotion,  and 
tenderness  of  a  woman's  nature.  Frank  and  open  in  all  his  deal 
ings,  the  idea  of  deceiving  or  condescending  to  stoop  to  any 
sophistry  in  conversation  never  entered  his  mind.  This  in 
genuousness  of  mind  and  natural  excellence  of  disposition  were 
admirably  associated  with  external  advantages,  and  set  off  by 
an  appearance  of  no  ordinary  comeliness,  which  in  its  perfec 
tions  united  excellence  of  form,  coloring,  and  expression.  \Yit, 
genius,  and  generosity,  thus  gracefully  presented,  and  graciously 
recommended  in  his  person  to  observation,  it  may  not  be  much 
wondered  at,  were  admired  ;  nor  need  we  doubt  that  Alfred 
D'Orsay  was  regarded  by  many  with  sentiments  of  regard  and 
esteem,  and  by  some  with  stronger  feelings  of  affection  than 
may  be  easily  reconcilable  with  the  prevailing  opinion  of  his 
faults  and  his  defects. 

Many  of  the  preceding  observations  have  been  written  by  one 
most  intimately  acquainted  with  Count  D'Orsay,  and  devoted  in 
her  attentions  to  him  in  his  last  illness,  and  up  to  his  last  mo 
ments  ;  one  who  had  known  him  long  and  well  in  the  full  force 
and  vigor  of  life  and  health  in  happier  times,  in  the  brilliant 
circle  in  which  he  moved,  "  the  glass  of  fashion  and  the  mould 
of  form;"  who  had  seen  him  in  gay  salons,  the  delight,  of  all 


282  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

around  him,  and  in  splendid  equipages,  witching  also  the  world 
of  fashion  in  Hyde  Park  "with  noble  horsemanship,"  "the  ob 
served  of  all  observers,"  there  and  every  where  he  came.  They 
were  written  by  one  who  had  seen  him  in  a  few  months  re 
duced  from  a  high  position,  surrounded  with  all  the  luxuries  of 
life,  from  health  and  happiness  to  comparative  obscurity  and  in 
digence,  to  wretchedness  and  weariness  of  life,  utterly  broken 
down  in  health  and  spirits.  They  were  written  with  the  warm 
feelings  of  elevated  kindness  and  of  unfailing  friendship  of  a 
woman's  heart,  ever  most  true  and  faithful  when  the  object  of 
its  solicitude  stands  most  in  need  of  pity  and  of  care. 

In  this  notice  we  must  not  look  for  a  close  and  scrutinizing 
search  for  frailties  and  errors  ;  and  we  may  fairly  presume, 
however  truthful  the  account  may  be  which  is  given  to  us  of 
the  many  excellent  qualities  of  this  gifted  man,  that  he  had  his 
faults  and  imperfections  ;  and  happy  may  it  be  for  him  and 
most  men  if  the  amount  of  evil  is  counterbalanced  to  some  ex 
tent  by  that  of  good. 

The  nearest  and  dearest  living  relation  of  Count  D'Orsay,  who 
cherishes  his  memory  as  one  of  the  objects  in  this  world  most 
precious  to  her,  makes  no  concealment  of  her  conviction  that 
Count  D'Orsay's  ignorance  of  the  value  of  money — the  profuse 
expenditure  into  which  he  was  led  by  that  ignorance,  the  temp 
tation  to  play  arising  from  it,  the  reckless  extravagance  into 
which  he  entered,  not  so  much  to  minister  to  his  own  pleasures 
as  to  gratify  the  feelings  of  an  inordinate  generosity  of  disposi 
tion,  that  prompted  him  to  give  whenever  he  was  called  on,  and 
to  forget  the  obligations  he  contracted  for  the  sake  of  others,  and 
the  heavy  penalties  imposed  on  his  friends  by  his  frequent  ap 
peals  for  pecuniary  assistance,  were  very  grievous  faults,  and 
great  defects  in  his  character.  In  other  respects,  it  can  not  be 
denied  that  great  wrongs  were  inflicted  on  one  entitled  to  pro 
tection  from  him  ;  that  public  opinion  was  outraged  by  that  ca 
reer  in  London  which  furnished  slander  with  so  many  plausible 
themes;  and,  however  groundless  may  be  the  innumerable  ru 
mors  prejudicial  to  character  that  had  been  industriously  prop 
agated  in  relation  to  them,  that  great  imprudence  had  been  com- 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  283 

mitted,  and  grave  suspicions  had  "been  incurred  by  that  impru 
dence. 

Those  who  deal  rigorously  with  the  defects  of  other  people 
may  be  very  conscious  of  being  exempt  from  the  failings  they 
discover  in  eminent  persons  filling  a  large  space  in  the  public 
view  like  the  late  Count  D'Orsay ;  but  before  they  exult  over 
much  in  the  fullness  of  their  sense  of  superiority  over  others  less 
perfect  than  themselves,  and  in  the  abundance  of  their  self-com 
placency  give  thanks  to  God  they  are  not  like  those  other  frail 
and  erring  people,  let  them  be  well  satisfied  they  have  no  frail 
ties  themselves  of  a  different  description,  and  that  they  are  in 
possession  of  all  the  good  qualities  that  may  belong  even  to  their 
erring  brothers  ;  let  them  be  well  assured  that,  had  their  own 
position  in  early  life,  and  at  the  commencement  of  their  career 
in  society,  been  surrounded  by  unfavorable  circumstances  and 
evil  influences,  as  those  of  the  persons  who  are  condemned  by 
them  may  have  been,  their  own  virtue  was  of  such  exalted  ex 
cellence  that  it  would  have  triumphed  over  all  those  unfortu 
nate  circumstances  and  influences  which  had  militated  against 
the  happiness  and  good  repute  of  others. 

The  following  facts  need  no  comments,  and  render  any  further 
statements  unnecessary  on  the  subject  I  have  referred  to,  of  lav 
ish  extravagance. 

Soon  after  the  count  separated  from  his  wife,  an  agreement 
was  executed,  in  1838,  whereby  he  relinquished  all  his  interest 
in  the  Blessington  estates,  in  consideration  of  certain  annuities 
amounting  to  .£2467  being  redeemed,  or  allowed  to  remain 
charged  upon  the  estates  (the  sum  then  necessary  to  redeem 
them  was  calculated  at  £23,500),  and  also  in  consideration  of 
a  sum  of  £55,000  to  be  paid  to  him  ;  £1 3,000,  part  thereof,  as 
soon  as  it  could  be  raised,  and  the  remaining  .£42,000  within 
ten  years.  These  latter  sums  were  not  paid  until  the  estates 
had  been  sold,  namely,  in  1851,  when  with  interest  they  amount 
ed  to  about  £80,000,  and  that  entire  amount  was  paid  to  parties 
to  whom  the  count  had  given  securities  on  the  estates  ;  so  that 
with  the  annuities,  the  actual  amount  paid  to  his  creditors  out 
of  the  estates  was  upward  of  £103,500.  During  his  residence 


984  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

in  England  lie  had  an  allowance  from  the  Court  of  Chancery  in 
Ireland  of  £550,  and  Lady  Harriet  .£400  a  year. 
**  D'Orsay's  embarrassments,  from  the  years  1837  and  1838  to 
the  close  of  his  career,  were  continuous.  In  1841,  some  efforts 
.were  made  by  his  friends  to  extricate  him  from  them.  It  was 
the  honorable  motive  of  turning  his  talents  to  a  profitable  ac 
count  which  subsequently  led  him  to  devote  himself  to  art  with 
the  idea  of  ultimately  increasing  his  income  by  his  pursuits  as 
a  sculptor  and  a  painter,  and  to  cultivate  the  friendship  of  art 
ists,  with  the  view  of  deriving  advantage  from  their  several 
excellences  in  their  pursuits. 

Most  of  his  works  of  art  are  well  known.  His  portrait  of 
"Wellington,  who  had  so  great  a  regard  for  him  that  it  was  suf 
ficient  to  mention  Count  D'Orsay's  name  to  insure  his  attention 
and  interest  even  when  otherwise  occupied,  was,  he  believes, 
the  last  for  which  the  duke  ever  sat.  At  its  completion  his 
grace  warmly  shook  hands  with  the  noble  artist,  exclaiming, 
"  At  last  I  have  been  painted  like  a  gentleman !  I'll  never  sit 
to  any  one  else."  In  Paris  he  executed  a  splendid  bust  of  Lam- 
artine,  on  which  the  poet  wrote  some  fine  verses  ;  one  ofErnile 
de  Ciirardin,  the  boldest,  the  ablest,  and  the  last  open  supporter 
of  liberty  against  oppression  ;  one  of  Napoleon  Bonaparte,  the 
son  of  Jerome  ;  a  picture  of  >Sir  Ilobert  Peel ;  various  other 
sketches  and  medallions  ;  and,  shortly  before  his  death,  he  had 
completed  the  small  model  of  a  full-sized  statue  of  the  ex-king 
Jerome,  ordered  by  government  for  the  Salle  des  Marechaux  de 
France,  and  had  commenced  a  colossal  statue  of  Napoleon. 

The  following  article  respecting  the  merits  of  Count  D'Orsay 
as  an  artist  appeared  in  the  "Presse"  newspaper  of  the  10th  of 
November,  1850  (written  by  Monsieur  dc  la  Guerronniere),  on 
the  occasion  of  the  exhibition  of  a  bust  of  Lamartine  executed 
by  the  count.  The  lines  which  follow  the  article,  composed  by 
Lamartine,  are  not  the  least  admirable  of  the  celebrated  poet. 

LK    BL'STE    DE    M.    DE    LAMARTIXE,   VERS    A.   M.   LE    COMTE     D'ORSAY. 

"  M.  le  Comtc  D'Orsay  est  un  amateur  de  Part  plutot  qu'un 
artiste.  Mais  qu'est-ce  qu'un  amateur?  C'est  un  volontaire 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  285 

parmi  les  artistes  ;  ce  sont  souvent  les  volontaires  qui  font  les 
coups  d'eclat  dans  1'atelier  comme  sur  les  champs  de  bataille. 
Glu'est  ce  qu'un  amateur?  C'est  un  artiste  dont  le  genie  seul 
fait  la  vocation.  II  est  vrai  qu'il  ne  recoit  pas  dans  son  enfance 
ct  pendant  les  premieres  annees  de  sa  vie  cette  education  du 
metier  d'ou  sort  Michel  Ange,  d'ou  sort  Raphael.  II  suit  moins 
les  procede's,  les  traditions,  les  secrets  pratiques  de  son  art ; 
mais  s'il  doit  moins  au  maitre,  il  doit  plus  a  la  nature.  II  est 
son  oouvre.  C'est  elle  qui  a  mis  le  ciseau  et  le  maillet  du  sculp- 
teur  entre  les  mains  elegantes  et  aristocratiques  de  Mme.  do 
Lamartine,  de  Scrnesie,  de  M.  de  Nerewerkerke  et  de  M.  le 
Comte  D'Orsay. 

"  M.  D'Orsay  est  d'une  famille  ou  Ton  doit  avoir,  plus  quo 
dans  toute  autre,  le  culte  du  beau  dans  Part.  II  est  le  ills  d'un 
general  de  nos  annees  heroiques,  aussi  ce'lebre  par  sa  beaute  quo 
par  ses  faits  d'armees.  II  est  le  frere  de  cctte  belle  Duchesse 
de  Grammont,  dont  le  nom  rappelle  toutes  les  graces  et  toutes 
les  delicatesses  d'esprit  de  la  cour  de  Louis  XIY.  Lui-mcA>me, 
avant  d'avoir  la  ce'lebrite'  d'artiste  et  d'homnie  lettre,  cut  1'illus- 
tration  de  la  nature  :  il  fut  uii  type  de  noblesse  et  de  dignite 
dans  les  traits.  II  exer^a  dans  les  salons  de  Paris  et  de  Londres 
la  dictature  Athenieime  du  gout  et  de  1'elegance.  C'est  un  de 
ces  liommcs  qu'on  aurait  cru  prcoccupe  dc  succes  futiles — parce 
quo  la  nature  semble  les  avoir  crees  uniquement  pour  son  plaisir 
— mais  qui  trompent  la  nature,  et  qui,  apres  avoir  recueilli  les 
legeres  admirations  des  jeunes  gens  et  des  femmes  de  leur  age, 
echappent  a  cette  atmosphere  de  legerete  avant  le  temps  ou  ils 
laissent  ses  idoles  dans  le  vide,  et  se  transformer^  par  1'etude  et 
par  le  travail  en  hommes  nouveaux,  en  hommes  de  me'ritc  ac- 
quis  et  serieux.  M.  D'Orsay  ahabite  longtemps  1'Angleterre  ou 
il  donnait  1'exemple  et  le  ton  a  cette  societe  aristocratique,  un 
peu  raide  et  deforme,  qui  admire  surtout  ce  qui  lui  manque,  la 
Grace  et  1'abandon  des  maniercs.  Mais  il  s'y  etait  rendu  re- 
commandable  aussi  et  surtout  par  le  patronage  intelligent  et  in- 
fatigable  qu'il  exer^ait  envers  les  Francais  de  toutes  les  classes 
denues  de  ressources  dans  ce  desert  de  Londres.  Une  des  plus 
admirables  institutions  de  secours  pour  les  Francais  ses  compa- 
triotes,  lui  doit  son  nom  et  sa  prosperite. 


286  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

"  DC  cet'tc  epoque,  il  eommenca  a  jouer  avec  1'argile,  le 
marbre,  le  ciscau.  Lie  par  un  attachement  dcvenu  une  parente 
d'esprit,  avec  une  des  plus  belles  et  des  pins  splendides  femmes 
dc  son  t'poquc,  il  lit  son  buste  pendant  qu'elle  vivait  ;  il  le  fit 
ideal  ct  plus  totichant  apres  sa  rnort.  II  moulc  en  formes  apres, 
rudes,  sauvages,  de  grandeur  fruste,  les  traits  paysancsques 
d'O'Connell.  II  sculpta  la  vicllessc  toujours  verte  et  calme  de 
Lord  "\Vcllinjrton.  Cos  bustes  furent  a  1'instant  vulgarises  en 
millieres  d'exemplaires  en  Angleterre  et  a  Paris.  C'etaint  des 
creations  iieuves.  Rien  de  facticc  ;  rien  do  convenu  ;  rien  de 
I'art,  exceptc  le  souverain  art,  celui  qu'on  nc  sent  pas  et  qui  ne 
laisse  sentir  quc  1'homme. 

"  Cos  premiers  succes  lui  en  presageaient  de  plus  complets. 
!l  clicrchait  un  visage.  II  en  trouva  un.  Lord  Byron,  dont  il 
I'nt  1'ami  et  avec  Icquel  il  voyagea  pendant  deux  ans  en  Italie, 
n'etait  plus  qu'uii  souvenir  aime  dans  son  cceur.  II  retrouva  ail- 
leurs  le  genie  de  la  poesie  uni  a  la  grandeur  du  caractere  et  a  la 
noblesse  du  courage.  II  fit  le  buste  de  Lamartine.  II  le  fit  de 
memoirc,  sans  quc  le  inodele  lui-meme  en  fut  instruit.  C'est 
devant  ce  buste,  bicntut  expose  au  salon,  que  nous  ecrivons  ces 
lignes.  en  demandant  pardon  a  M.  Theophile  Gautier,  notre  spir- 
ituel  collaboratcur,  d'anticiper  sur  sa  critique,  et  de  venir  dans 
son  irracieux  domaine,  nous  profanes,  qui  sormnes  des  pionniers 
de  la  politique  dans  un  champ  si  rude  a  labourer 

"  Le  buste  de  Lamartine  eta  it  tres  difficile  a  sculpter,  selon 
nous  dira  t-on.  Ses  traits  sont  simples,  regulieres,  calme.s, 
vastes  ;  ccla  est  vrai.  Mais  c'est  que,  dans  leur  simplicite,  dans 
leur  regularite,  dans  leur  calme,  ils  out  des  expressions  fugi 
tives  et  tres  diverses.  Or,  comment  etrc  a  la  Jbis  itn  et  dircr.t, 
pour  un  artiste  qui  se  donne  la  tuc.lic  de  reproduire  ce  t\'pe  .' 
.La  (Halt  le  probleme.  Le  Cointc  J.)'Orsay  1'a  n'.solu. 

"  La  nature1,  qui  ne  se  plie  pas  a  nos  dissections,  fait  quelquc- 
fois  des  hommes  f[ue  nous  pourrions  appeler  des  hommes  mul- 
ti]>]es.  JClle  en  faisait  bicn  davantage  dans  1'antiquite,  qui 
n'avait  ]>as  nos  sottes  jalousies,  nos  ridicules  prejuges  a  cct 
egard,  ct  qui  permettait  a  un  homrne  d'etre  a  la  fois — si  Dieu 
1'avait  fait  teJ — un  poetc,  un  oratcur,  un  soldat,  un  homme 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  287 

d'etat,  un  historien,  mi  philosophe,  tin  homme  de  lettres. 
Athenes  et  Rome  sont  remplies  de  ces  hommes-la,  depuis  So 
lon,  jusqu'a  Pericles  et  Alcibiade,  depuis  Ciceron  jusqu'a  Cesar. 
II  n'y  avait  point  alors  ce  systeme  de  caste  dans  1'intelligence  et 
dans  le  caractere,  qui  defend  aujourd'hui  en  France,  comme  cela 
est  defendu  dans  1'Inde,  d'exorcer  plusieurs  metiers,  ou  plusieurs 
genics,  ou  plusieurs  caracteres  a  la  fois.  Cette  castration  morale 
de  1'homme  n'etait  pas  inventee.  Voila  pourquoi  les  homrnes 
de  ces  temps  nous  paraissent  si  grands.  C'est  qu'ils  sont  en- 
tiers  ?  Aujourd'hui  ce  n'est  plus  cela.  Hi  vous  avcz  touclie 
une  lyre  dans  votre  jeunesse,  il  vous  sera  defendu  de  toucher  a 
une  epee  plus  tard.  Vous  screz  range,  bon  gre  mal  gre,  dans  la 
caste  ties  poetcs.  Si  vous  avez  rcvetu  un  uniforme,  il  vous 
sera  interdit  d'etre  un  ecrivairi.  ISi  vous  avez  etc  un  orateur,  il 
vous  sera  impossible  de  revetir  un  uniforme  et  de  commander 
une  armee.  Si  vous  avez  ecrit  1'histoire,  il  vous  sera  reproche 
de  toucher  aux  choscs  qui  seront  1'histoire  a  ecrire  par  d'autres 
un  jour.  C'est  notrc  loi.  C'est  ce  quo  nous  appelons  la  division 
du  travail.  C'est  ce  j'appellerai  plus  justement  la  mutilation 
des  facultes  humaines.  Mais  enfin,  il  n'y  a  rien  a  dire  a  cela 
chez  nous.  C'est  un  fait;  c'cst  convenu. 

"  Or,  il  arrive  quelquefois  quo  la  nature  sc  revolte  centre  ces 
distinctions  arbitraires  de  notrc  societe  et  de  notre  temps,  et 
qu'elle  donne  a  un  meme  homme  des  facultes  tres  diverses  quoi- 
quc  tres  completes. 

"  Voici  Lamartine  posant  devant  M.  D'Orsay  !  Evidemment 
il  y  a  la  plusieurs  Lamartine.  Lequel  choisira  le  sculpteur  ? 
Est-cc  le  Lamartine  des  Meditations  poetiques,  des  Harmonies  re- 
ligieuscs  et  de  Jocclyn  ?  Est-ce  Lamartine  de  la  tribune  ?  Est- 
ce  le  Lamartine  de  1'Hotel  de  Ville  haranguant  les  multitudes 
pour  desarmer  la  Revolution  du  drapeau  de  la  Tcrreur,  la  poi- 
trine  decouvertc,  haletant,  les  habits  dechires  ?  Est-ce  le  Lam 
artine  ecrivant  I'Histoire  des  Girondms  ?  Est-ce  le  Larhartine 
a  chcval  et  au  feu  des  journees  de  mai  et  de  juin,  marchant  a  la 
lete  ties  colonnes  tic  la  garde  mobile  et  dc  la  garde  nationalc, 
centre  la  Place  de  Greve  ou  contre  les  barricades  des  faubourgs 
insurges  ?  E^t-ce  Lamartine  vaincu,  desarme  de  son  pouvoir  et 


288  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

do  sa  popularite,  se  refugiant  dc  la  politique  dans  les  lettres,  et 
demandant  a  son  travail  solitaire  et  a  la  lampe  de  scs  iiuits  des 
travaux  qui  epuisent  la  jeunesse  d'un  ecrivain  ?  Eh  bien  !  non, 
cc  n'est  ni  celui-ci,  ni  celui-la  que  M.  le  Comte  D'Orsay  a  vonlu 
clioisir.  II  n'a  pas  choisi ;  il  a  mieux  fait  :  il  a  fait  le  Lamar- 
tine  de  la  nature,  le  Lamartine  tout  cntier.  Celui  des  poesies, 
celui  de  la  tribune,  celui  de  1'histoirc,  celui  de  1'Hotel  de  Ville 
et  celui  de  la  rue,  celui  de  la  retraite  et  du  travail. 

"  Voila.  pour  nous  et  pour  1'avcnir  1'incomparable  superiorite 
de  cette  couvre.  Ce  n'est  pas  tel  ou  tcl  homme,  telle  on  telle 
partie  de  la  vie  de  cet  homme,  c'est  1'homme,  1'homme  divers, 
1'homme  multiple,  1'horame  comme  la  nature  ct  le  hasard  des 
circonstances  1'ont  fait. 

"  On  jugera  de  cettc  ceuvre  dc  vie  au  salon.  On  pourra  cri- 
tiquer  tel  ou  tcl  coup  de  ciseau,  tel  ou  tel  muscle,  telle  ou  telle 
ligne  du  bronze  ou  du  marbre.  Mais  on  verra  vivre  un  liommc. 
On  dira  ce  qu'un  de  nos  amis  a  dit  en  voyant  pour  la  premiere 
fois  cette  epreuve  :  C'cst  le  buste  de  feu  sacrc.  Beranger,  si 
grand  juge,  cst  sorti  plein  d'admiration  de  cet  atelier.  Ami  du 
modele  il  lui  appartenait  plus  qu'a  personne  de  prononcer  sur 
le  talent  du  sculptcur. 

"  Au  reste,  il  parait  que  le  modele  lui-meme  a  ete  pressionne 
par  son  image,  car  cette  impression  lui  a  rendu  sa  voix  de  poete 
qui  s'cst  tue  dupuis  si  longtemps  au  tumulte  d'autres  pcnsees 
et  d'autres  actcs.  En  rcccvant  a  Mficon,  il  y  a  quelqucs  jours 
ce  buste  qui  hii  etait  envoye  par  le  statuairc,  il  a  adrcsse,  et 
comme  improvise'  dans  1'instant  memo  a  M.  le  Comte  D'Orsay, 
les  strophes  suivantes  que  nous  dcvons  a  1'obligcance  dc  celui 
qui  les  a  revues.  JN'os  lectures  y  retrouveront  la  voix  qui  nous 
remuait  dans  notre  jeunesse,  et  quo  le  temps,  au  lieu  de  la  bri- 
ser,  a  rendu  plus  virile,  plus  grave  et  plus  penetrante  que  ja- 
mais  : 

•  "A  MONSIEUR  LE  COMTE  D'ORSAY. 

I. 

"  Quantl  le  bronzo  ceumant  dans  ton  moulc  d'argilc, 
I>('-<ruoTa  par  ta  main  mem  imago  fragile 
A  1'oeil  indifferent  des  homines  qui  naitront, 
Et  que,  passant,  leurs  doigts  sur  ces  tcmpes  ridees, 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.        289 

Comme  un  lit  devaste  du  torrent  des  idees, 

Pleins  de  doute,  ils  diront  entre  cux :  De  qui  ce  front  1 

ii. 
"  Est-ce  un  soldat  debout  frappe  pour  la  patrie "? 

Un  poete  qui  chante,  un  pontife  qui  prie  1 

Un  orateur  qui  parle  aux  flots  seditieux  I 

Est-ce  un  tribun  de  paix  souleve  par  la  houlle, 

Offrant,  le  coeur  gonfle,  sa  poitrine  a  la  foule, 

Pour  que  sa  liberte  remontat  pure  aux  cieux  1 

m. 
"  Car  dans  ce  pied  qui  lutte,  et  dans  ce  front  qui  vibre, 

Dans  ces  lueurs  de  feu  qu'entr'ouvre  un  souffle  libre, 

Dans  ce  coeur  qui  bondit,  dans  ce  geste  serein, 

Dans  cette  arche  du  flanc  que  1'extase  souleve, 

Dans  ce  bras  qui  commando  et  dans  cet  031!  qui  reve, 

Phidias  a  petri  sept  ames  dans  1'airain. 

IV. 

"  Sept  ames,  Phidias  !  et  je  n'en  ai  plus  une  ! 

De  tout  ce  qui  vecut  je  subis  la  fortune. 

Arme  cent  fois  brisee  entre  les  mains  du  temps, 

Je  seme  des  trames  dans  ma  route  vers  la  tombeaux 

Et  le  siecle  hebete  dit :   '  Voyez  comme  tombe 

A  moitie  du  combat  chacun  des  combattans  !' 

v. 
"  Celui-la  chanta  Dieu,  les  idoles  le  tuent ! 

Au  mepris  des  petits,  les  grands  le  prostituent : 

Notre  sang,  disent-ils  pourquoi  l'epargnas-tu  I 

Nous  en  aurions  tach&  la  griffe  populaire  ! 

Et  le  lion  couche  lui  dit  avec  colere  : 

Pourquoi  m'as-tu  calme  1     Ma  force  est  ma  vertu. 

VI. 

"  Va,  brise,  o  Phidias,  ta  dangereuse  epreuve ; 
Jettes-en  les  debris,  dans  le  feu,  dans  le  fleuve, 
De  peur  qu'un  foible  coeur,  de  doute  confondu, 
Ne  disc  en  contemplant  ces  affronts  sur  ma  joue, 
*  Laissons  aller  le  monde  a  son  courant  de  boue, 
Et  que  faut  d'un  coeur  un  siecle  soit  perdu  !' 

VII. 

' '  Oui,  brise,  6  Phidias  !  derobe  ce  visage 
A  la  posterite,  qui  ballotte  une  image 
De  I'Olympe  a  1'egout,  de  la  gloirc  a.  1'oubli. 
Au  pilori  du  temps  n'expose  pas  mon  ombre ! 
Je  suis  las  des  soleils,  laisse  mon  urne  a  I'ombre. 
Le  bonheur  de  la  mort,  c'est  d'etre  enseveli ! 
VOL.  l.—N 


•J90  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

VIII. 

"  Quc  la  fcuille  d'hiver  au  vent  des  nuits  semee, 
Quo,  du  coteau  natal  1'argile  encore  aimee 
Couvrent  vite  mon  front  moule  sous  son  linceul ! 
Je  ne  veux  de  vos  bruits  qu'un  souffle  dans  la  brise, 
Un  nom  inacheve  dans  un  cceur  qui  se  brise  ; 
J'ai  vecu  pour  la  foule,  et  je  veux  dormir  seul. 

"A.  DK  LAMARTINE." 

"  II  y  a  encore  line  strophe  plus  toucliante  et  aussi  grave  que 
les  autres.  Mais  nous  ne  nous  croyons  pas  permis  de  la  copier. 
L'auteur  nc  les  ecrivait  pas  pour  le  public,  mais  pour  uri  cceur. 
Nous  obe'issons  a  la  discretion  qu'il  nous  aurait  sans  doute  de- 
mandee. 

"  On  est  heureux  de  pouvoir  inspircr  de  pareils  vers  !  Plus 
heureux  sans  doutc  d' avoir  pu  les  ecrire  en  quelques  minutes,  au 
milieu  des  preoccupations  des  affaires  et  des  difficultes  du  temps. 
Nous  en  felicitous  M.  D'Orsay  ct  M.  de  Lamartinc.  L'uii  a  line 
belle  page  en  vers  ;  1'autre  a  une  belle  page  en  marbre.  Us 
sont  quittes  I'une  envers  1'autre.  Mais  nous  ne  le  sommes  pas 
envers  eux,  car  nous  leur  devons  une  double  emotion,  et  nos 
lecteurs  la  partageront  avec  nous. 

"A.    DE    LA   GUERONNIERE." 

There  are  some  excellent  remarks  on  D'Orsay's  talents  as  an 
artist,  though  a  little  too  eulogistic  perhaps,  in  an  article  in 
"The  Now  Monthly  Magazine"  for  August,  1845. 

"  Whatever  Count  D'Orsay  undertakes  seems  invariably  to  be 
well  done.  As  the  arbiter  clegantiarum,  he  has  reigned  supreme 
in  matters  of  taste  and  fashion,  confirming  the  attempts  of  oth 
ers  by  his  approbation,  or  gratifying  them  by  his  example.  To 
dress  or  drive,  to  shine  in  the  gay  world  like  Count  D'Orsay, 
was  once  the  ambition  of  the  youth  of  England,  who  then  dis 
covered  in  this  model  no  higher  attributes.  But  if  time,  who 
'  steals  our  years  away,'  steals  also  our  pleasures,  he  replaces 
them  with  others,  or  substitutes  a  better  thing  ;  and  thus  it  has 
befallen  with  Count  D'Orsay. 

"  If  the  gay  equipage  or  the  well-appareled  man  be  less  fre 
quently  seen  than  formerly,  that  which  causes  more  lasting  sat- 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  291 

isfaction,  and  leaves  an  impression  of  a  far  more  exalted  nature, 
comes  day  by  day  into  higher  relief,  awakening  only  the  regret 
that  it  should  have  been  concealed  so  long.  When  we  see  what 
Count  D'Orsay's  productions  are,  we  are  tempted  to  ask,  with 
Malvolio's  feigned  correspondent,  *  Why  were  these  things  hid  ?' 

"  But  AVC  are  glad  to  see  that  they  are  hidden  no  more,  and 
the  accomplished  count  seems  disposed  to  show  the  world  of 
how  much  he  is  really  capable.  His  croquis  de  societe  had  long 
charmed  his  friends,  and  his  great  skill  in  modeling  was  bruited 
abroad,  when  the  world  began  to  ask, '  Is  it  true  that  in  the  man 
of  fashion  exists  the  genius  of  the  sculptor  and  the  painter  ?' 
Evidence  was  soon  given  that  such  surmises  were  true. 

"Count  D'Orsay's  statuettes  of  Napoleon  and  the  Duke  of 
Wellington,  and  his  portraits  of  Dwarkanauth  Tagore  and  Lord 
Lyndhurst,  exhibited  capabilities  of  the  first  order,  and  satisfied 
every  inquiry.  Additional  proof  of  his  powers  has  been  afford 
ed  by  the  publication  of  the  engraving  of  his  portrait  of  Lord 
Byron. 

"  It  is  certainly  a  highly  interesting  work  of  art,  and,  in  point 
of  resemblance,  we  are  assured  that  one  who  knew  him,  per 
haps  best  of  all,  has  declared  that,  until  now,  there  never  exist 
ed  a  likeness  which  completely  satisfied  the  mind.  Certain 
traits  of  that  thoughtful  and  intelligent  countenance  were  want 
ing  in  other  portraits,  but  in  this  they  are  all  happily  united. 

"  Count  D'Orsay  has  represented  the  noble  bard  where  most 
he  loved  to  be,  on  the  deck  of  his  own  vessel.  He  is  sitting  in 
sailor's  costume,  leaning  on  the  rudder,  with  his  right  hand  un 
der  his  chin,  and  his  head  elevated.  In  his  fine  large  eyes  is 
an  expression  of  deep  thought,  and  a  pensive  character  marks 
his  firm,  but  femininely-cut  mouth.  His  noble  expanse  of  fore 
head  and  fine  contour  of  head  are  drawn  with  a  free  and  vigor 
ous  pencil.  If  we  did  not  know  whose  likeness  was  intended, 
we  should  still  call  this  portrait  an  exceedingly  fine  study ;  but 
our  interest  in  it  is  increased  by  the  fidelity  of  the  resemblance. 
The  portrait  is  well  engraved  by  Lewis. 

"  We  understand  that  his  grace  the  Duke  of  Wellington  is  so 
well  pleased  with  the  statuettes  to  which  we  have  alluded,  cop- 


092  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

ies  of  which  he  has  given  an  order  to  be  executed  in  silver,  that 
he  is  now  sitting  to  the  count  for  his  portrait  also.  We  there 
fore  look  forward  with  a  very  pleasant  anticipation  to  another 
likeness  of  the  hero  of  a  hundred  fights — and  pictures  too." 

Haydon,  in  his  Diary,  31st  of  June,  1838,  makes  mention  of 
D'Orsay :  "  About  seven  D'Orsay  called,  whom  I  had  not  seen 
for  long.  Pie  was  much  improved,  and  looking  the  glass  of 
fashion  and  the  mould  of  form  ;  really  a  complete  Adonis,  not 
made  up  at  all.  He  made  some  capital  remarks,  all  of  which 
must  be  attended  to.  They  were  sound  impressions  and  grand. 
He  bounded  into  his  cab,  and  drove  off  like  a  young  Apollo  with 
a  fiery  Pegasus.  I  looked  after  him.  I  like  to  see  such  speci 
mens."* 

Again,  in  his  Diary,  10th  of  July,  1839,  Haydon  observes: 
"  D'Orsay  called  and  pointed  out  several  things  to  correct  in  the 
horse  (the  Duke  of  Wellington's  charger),  verifiying  Lord  Fitz- 
roy's  criticism  of  Sunday  last.  I  did  them,  and  he  took  my 
brush  in  his  dandy  gloves,  which  made  my  heart  ache,  and  low 
ered  the  hind-quarters  by  bringing  over  a  bit  of  the  sky.  Such 
a  dress — white  greatcoat,  blue  satin  cravat,  hair  oiled  and  curl 
ing,  hat  of  the  primest  curve  and  purest  water,  gloves  scented 
with  eau  de  Cologne  or  eau  de  jasmine,  primrose  in  tint,  skin 
in  tightness.  In  this  prime  of  dandyism  he  took  up  a  nasty, 
oily,  dirty  hog-tool,  and  immortalized  Copenhagen  (the  charger) 
by  touching  the  sky."f 

A  friend  of  D'Orsay 's,  in  a  notice  of  the  count's  death  in  the 
"  Globe"  newspaper,  has  truly  observed  : 

"  Unquestionably  one  of  the  celebrities  of  our  day,  the  de 
ceased  man  of  fashion,  claims  more  than  the  usual  curt  obituary. 
It  were  unjust  to  class  him  with  the  mere  Brunirnels,  Mildmays, 
Alvanleys,  or  Pierreponts  of  the  Regency,  with  whom,  in  his 
early  life,  he  associated,  much  less  the  modern  men  about  town 
who  have  succeeded  him  ;  equally  idle  were  the  attempt  to 
rank  him  with  a  Prince  do  Ligne,  an  Admirable  Crichton,  or  an 
Alcibiades  ;  yet  was  he  a  singularly  gifted  and  brilliantly  ac 
complished  personage." 

*  Memoirs  of  B.  R.  Haydon,  vol.  iii.,  p.  86.  f  Ibid.,  vol.  iii.,  p.  105. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  293 

A  writer  in  the  "  Annual  Register,"  in  another  notice  of  the 
count's  death,  thus  speaks  of  his  talents  and  acquirements  : 

"  Few  men  in  his  position  have  shown  greater  accomplish 
ments.  His  literary  compositions  were  lively  and  imaginative. 
His  profile  portraits  of  his  friends  (of  which  many  have  been 
published  in  lithography)  are  felicitous  and  characteristic,  and 
his  statuettes  are  not  only  graceful,  but  possess  greater  original 
ity  of  conception  than  is  evinced  by  the  majority  of  professional 
artists.  In  his  general  intercourse  with  society,  Count  D'Orsay 
was  distinguished  not  merely  by  true  politeness,  but  by  great 
amiability.  He  was  kind  and  charitable  to  his  distressed  coun 
trymen,  and  one  of  the  most  assiduous  supporters  of  the  Societe 
de  Bienfaisance. 

"  In  England  the  count  became  acquainted  with  Prince  Louis 
Napoleon,  and  soon  after  the  arrival  of  the  prince  in  France,  he 
fixed  his  own.  residence  in  Paris.  His  name  was  designated 
several  times  for  diplomatic  office,  but  it  was  rumored,  and  gen 
erally  believed,  that  the  prince  was  too  dependent  upon  his  per 
sonal  advice  and  assistance  to  spare  his  society.  We  are  now 
told  (by  M.  Girardin,  in  'La  Pressc')  that,  before  the  2d  of  De 
cember,  nobody  made  greater  or  more  reiterated  efforts  for  a 
policy  of  a  different  course  and  of  the  highest  aspirations  ;  after 
the  2d  of  December,  no  man  exerted  himself  more  to  assuage 
the  stroke  of  proscription.  The  President  of  the  Republic  had 
not  a  more  devoted  and  sincere  friend  than  the  Count  D'Orsay, 
and  it  is  at  a  moment  when  the  prince  had  attached  him  to  his 
person  by  the  title  and  functions  of  Superintendent  of  the  Beaux 
Arts  that  he  has  lost  him  forever."* 

Count  D'Orsay's  connections  with  English  families  of  distinc 
tion,  and  relations  with  eminent  persons  of  his  country  residing 
in  England,  had  made  him  well  acquainted  with  London  and  its 
society  before  his  intimacy  with  the  Blessingtons. 

In  1828,  Lady  Blessington  speaks  of  the  General  and  Count 
ess  D'Orsay  as  having  taken  up  their  abode  in  Paris,  and  their 
recent  arrival  from  their  chateau  in  Francke  Comic. 

No  mention,  however,  is  made  in  that  portion  of  her  journal, 
*  This  appointment  was  announced  only  a  few  days  before  his  death. 


294  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

nor,  indeed,  in  any  previous  part  of  the  "  Idler  in  France,"  of 
their  son  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay.  "  The  Countess  D'Orsay,"  Lady 
Blessington  observes,  "  had  been  a  celebrated  beauty,  and  though 
a  grandmother,  still  retains  considerable  traces  of  it.  Her  coun 
tenance  is  so  spirituclle  and  piquant  that  it  gives  additional  point 
to  the  clever  things  she  perpetually  utters  ;  and  what  greatly 
enhances  her  attractions  is  the  perfect  freedom  from  any  of  the 
airs  of  a  belle  esprit,  and  the  total  exemption  from  affectation  that 
distinguishes  her. 

"General  D'Orsay,  known  from  his  youth  as  Le  Beau  D'Or 
say,  still  justifies  the  appellation,  for  he  is  the  handsomest  man 
of  his  age  that  I  ever  beheld.  It  is  said  that  when  the  emperor 
first  saw  him,  he  observed  that  '  he  would  make  an  admirable 
model  for  a  Jupiter,'  so  noble  and  commanding1  was  the  charac 
ter  of  his  beauty.  There  is  a  calm  and  dignified  simplicity  in 
the  manner  of  General  D'Orsay  that  harmonizes  with  his  lofty 
bearing."* 

Elsewhere  Lady  Blessington  observes,  "  I  know  no  such 
brilliant  talker  as  she  (the  Countess  D'Orsay)  is.  No  matter 
what  may  be  the  subject  of  conversation,  her  wit  flashes  bright 
ly  on  all,  and  without  the  slightest  appearance  of  effort  or  pre 
tension.  She  speaks  from  a  mind  overflowing  with  general  in 
formation,  made  available  by  a  retentive  memory,  a  ready  wit, 
and  inexhaustible  good  spirits."! 

The  customary  transmission  of  intellectual  power  in  the  ma 
ternal  line,  and  of  striking  traits  of  physical  conformation  from 
sire  to  children,  were  not  deviated  from  in  the  case  of  the  chil 
dren  of  the  brilliant  countess  and  the  beau  D'Orsay. 

The  mother  of  the  Countess  D'Orsay,  Madame  Crawford,  was 
a  person  of  singular  endowments.  The  King  of  AYurtemberg 
had  been  privately  married  to  this  lady  ;  but  on  the  legal  mar 
riage  of  the  king  with  a  royal  personage,  which  his  former  wife 
considered  as  an  act  of  injustice  to  herself  and  her  children  (a 
son  who  died  young,  though  grown  up,  and  a  daughter,  after 
ward  Madame  D'Orsay),  she  went  to  France,  and  fixed  her  abode 
there.  She  subsequently  married  a  Mr.  O'Sullivan,  an  Irishman 

*  The  Idler  in  France,  vol.  i .,  p.  238.  f  Ibid.,  vol.  ii.,  p.  33. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  295 

of  large  fortune  in  India,  and  after  his  death,  Mr.  Crawford,  a 
member  of  an  ancient  Scotch  family,  and  also  possessed  of  large 
property.  She  survived  him,  and  died  at  the  age  of  eighty-four. 
In  India,  the  personal  attractions  of  this  lady  obtained  for  her 
the  title  of  "La  Belle  Sullivan."  On  her  return,  one  of  her 
countrymen  addressed  the  following  jeu  d*  esprit : 

ON  SENDING  A  SMALL  BOTTLE  OF  OTTO  OF  ROSES  TO   MRS.  SULLIVAN. 
"  Quand  la  '  belle  Sulivan,'  quitta  1'Asie, 
La  Rose,  amoureuse  de  ses  charraes, 
Pleura  le  depart  de  sa  belle  amie, 
Et  ce  flacon  contient  ses  larmes." 

Madame  Crawford,  in  1828,  was  residing  in  Paris.  "  Her  ho 
tel,"  says  Lady  Blessington  in  her  diary,  "is  a  charming  one, 
entrc  Cour  et  Jardin ;  and  she  is  the  most  extraordinary  person 
of  her  age  I  have  ever  seen.  In  her  eightieth  year,  she  does 
not  look  to  be  more  than  fifty-five,  arid  possesses  all  the  vivacity 
and  good  humor  peculiar  only  to  youth.  Scrupulously  exact  in 
her  person,  and  dressed  with  the  utmost  care  as  well  as  good 
taste,  she  gives  me  a  notion  of  the  appearance  which  the  cele 
brated  Ninon  de  1'Enclos  must  have  presented  at  the  same  age, 
and  has  much  of  the  charm  of  manner  said  to  have  belonged  to 
that  remarkable  woman.  It  was  an  interesting  sight  to  see  her 
surrounded  by  her  grandchildren  and  great-grandchildren,  all 
remarkable  for  their  good  looks,  and  affectionately  attached  to 
her,  while  she  appears  not  a  little  proud  of  them." 

Lady  Blessington,  in  referring  to  the  fascinating  powers  of 
this  elderly  gentlewoman,  and  comparing  them  with  those  of 
Ninon  de  1'Enclos  some  seven-and-twenty  years  later,  might 
have  found  an  elderly  gentlewoman  verging  on  sixty,  nearer 
home,  possessing  the  extraordinary  attractions  she  alluded  to 
in  the  case  of  the  old  French  lady,  who  had  a  violent  attack  of 
youth  every  spring  for  upward  of  half  a  century. 

Ninon  de  1'Enclos,  at  the  age  of  fifty-six,  inspired  the  Marquis 
of  Sevigne  with  the  tender  passion. 

Bordering  on  her  seventieth  year,  she  inspired  a  Swedish  no 
bleman,  a  bold  baron,  with  feelings  of  admiration  and  affection. 


296  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

Her  last  conquest  was  at  the  age  of  eighty  :  "  Monsieur  1'Abbe 
Gedouin  fut  la  derniere  passion." 

But  the  last-named  abbe,  it  would  appear,  was  not  the  first 
abbe  who  had  felt  the  power  of  her  attractions,  even  in  her  ma 
ture  years.  The  Abbe  Chaulieu,  descanting  on  the  loveliness 
of  this  remarkable  old  woman,  said,  "  L'amour  s'est  retire 
jusque  dans  les  rides  de  son  front." 

Ninon  preserved  not  only  her  beauty,  but  her  sprightliness 
of  fancy  in  her  advanced  years.  She  had  the  art  of  saying  good 
things  promptly  and  appropriately  on  proper  occasions  in  a  nat 
ural  manner,  and  the  good  sense  never  to  violate  the  decencies 
of  life  in  conversation.  She  made  no  affectation  of  prudery, 
however,  and  even  declaimed  much  against  prudes.  "  Elles 
ctoient  les  Jansenistcs  de  1'amour."* 

The  late  Duke  de  Grammont,  father  of  the  present  duke 
(brother-in-law  of  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay),  is  described  by  Lady 
Blessington  as  "  a  fine  old  man,  who  has  seen  much  of  the  world, 
without  having  been  soured  by  its  trials.  Faithful  to  his  sov 
ereign  during  adversity,  he  is  affectionately  cherished  by  the 
whole  of  the  present  royal  family,  who  respect  and  love  him, 
and  his  old  age  is  cheered  by  the  unceasing  devotion  of  his 
children,  the  Duke  and  Duchesse  de  Guiche,  who  are  fondly  at 
tached  to  hiin."t 

*  Lettres  de  Ninon  do  1'Enclos,  &c.,  avcc  sa  Vic,  IGmo,  London,  1782,  tome 

t  The  celebrated  Duchesse  dc  Grammont,  who  perished  on  the  scaffold  in  tho 
French  Revolution,  was  the  sister  of  the  famous  minister,  the  Duke  de  Choiseul. 
In  1751  we  find  the  Duchesse  de  Grammont  thus  described  by  one  of  her  cotem- 
poraries  :  "  She  never  dissembles  her  contempt  or  dislike  of  any  man,  in  what, 
over  degree  of  elevation.  It  is  said  she  might  have  supplied  the  place  of  Madame 
de  Pompadour  if  she  had  pleased.  She  treats  the  ceremonies  and  pageants  of 
courts  as  things  beneath  her.  She  possesses  a  most  uncommon  share  of  under 
standing,  and  has  very  high  notions  of  honor  and  reputation."  This  celebrated 
lady  possessed  a  very  uncommon  share  of  courage  and  magnanimity,  which  she 
was  called  on  some  thirty  years  later  to  exhibit — not  in  gilded  salons  or  brilliant 
rircles  of  wit  and  fashion,  but  before  the  Revolutionary  tribunal  and  on  the  scaf 
fold.  The  duchosso,  when  brought  before  the  judges  of  that  murderous  tribunal, 
with  an  energy  and  eloquence  that  even  struck  the  judicial  assassins  of  that  ini 
quitous  court  with  surprise,  pleaded  for  the  life  of  her  dear  friend,  the  Duchesse 
de  Chatek-t,  but  plead  for  it  in  vain.  They  died  on  the  same  scaffold. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  297 

The  parents  of  the  present  Duke  of  Grammont  accompanied 
the  royal  family  in  their  exile  to  Scotland.  The  mother  of  the 
duke  died  in  Holy  rood  House  in  1803. 

In  October,  1825,  "the  remains  of  the  Duchess  of  Grammont, 
which  had  lain  in  the  royal  vault  of  the  chapel  of  Holyrood  since 
the  year  1803,  were  transported  in  a  hearse  from  the  palace  to 
Newhaven,  to  be  embarked  on  board  a  French  corvette  at  an 
chor  in  the  roads.  The  lord  provost  and  magistrates,  the  lord 
advocate,  the  lord  chief  baron,  Sir  Patrick  Walker,  Sir  Henry 
Jardine,  &c.,  attended,  and  followed  the  hearse  in  mourning 
coaches  to  the  place  of  embarkation,  as  a  testimony  of  respect 
for  the  memory  of  the  illustrious  lady,  who  died  while  sharing 
the  exile  of  the  royal  family  of  France.  The  original  shell  had 
previously  been  inclosed  in  a  coffin  of  a  very  superb  description, 
covered  with  crimson  velvet,  and  gorgeously  ornamented.  The 
plate  bore  the  following  inscription  : 

"  Louise  Franchise  Gabrielle  Aglae 

De  Polignac, 

Duchesse  de  Grammont, 

nee  a  Paris  le  7  Mai, 

1763; 

morte  le  30  Mars, 
1803."* 

Lady  Tankerville,  sister  of  the  present  Duke  of  Grammont,  is 
a  native  of  Paris.  Pier  position  in  early  life,  belonging  to  one 
of  the  first  families  in  France,  and  one  of  those  the  most  devoted 
to  the  Bourbons,  added  to  her  great  beauty,  rendered  her  in  the 
old  regime  an  object  of  general  attention  and  attraction  at  court. 
The  Duke  de  Berri,  before  his  alliance  with  a  Neapolitan  prin 
cess,  wished  much  to  marry  Mademoiselle  de  Grammont.  On 
the  downfall  of  the  elder  branch  of  the  Bourbons,  her  family 
having  suffered  severely  in  the  Revolution,  she  came  to  England, 
and  during  her  residence  in  this  country  in  quasi  exile,  married 
the  Earl  of  Tankerville.  This  lady  possesses  all  the  vivacity  of 
her  nation,  and  graceful,  sprightly  manners. 

Charles  Augustus,  Lord  Ossulston,  the  present  Earl  of  Tank- 

*  Annual  Register,  1825,  p.  148. 
N2 


298  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

erville,  the  28th  of  July,  1826,  married  Corisande  de  Grammont, 
daughter  of  Antoine,  Due  de  Grammont,  and  Aglae  de  Polignac. 

Another  sister  of  the  present  Duke  de  Grammont  married 
General,  afterward  Marshal,  Sebastiani,  who,  though  an  habit 
ual  invalid,  was  sagaciously  chosen  by  the  King  of  the  Barri 
cades  to  represent  the  armed  majesty  of  France  at  the  court  of 
St.  James,  immediately  after  the  "  three  glorious  days"  of  1830.* 

He  was  a  man  of  profound  reflection,  though  of  no  pretensions 
to  talent  of  any  kind.  He  had  the  art  of  exerting  influence  with 
out  exciting  envy  or  raising  opposition.  At  an  interval  of  thirty 
years  he  married  two  ladies  of  the  highest  rank  in  France — a 
Coigny  and  a  Grammont. 

In  a  letter  of  the  Due  de  Grammont,  then  Due  de  Guiche 
(without  date),  to  Lady  Blessington,  he  says,  "  My  sister  is  gone 
to  London  as  embassadrice  de  Ls.  Pe.  Is  it  not  strange?  But 
what  will  appear  to  you  still  more  so  is,  that  this  extraordinary 
change  at  their  time  of  life  is  the  operation  of  love,  by  which 
influence  no  couple  of  sixteen  have  been  ever  more  subdued. 
I,  who  feel  daily  old  age  creeping  on,  I  hope  that  some  like  oc 
currence  will  in  twenty  years'  time  set  me  up  again.  I,  how 
ever,  trust  that,  through  our  numerous  acquaintances  and  con 
nections  with  English  society,  she  will  be  lien  rcpuc,  and  that 
people  will  remember  the  Comtcsse  Sebastiani  cst  nee  Grammont. 
Believe  me,  my  dear  Lady  Blessington,  ever  faithfully  your  at 
tached  friend,  (Signed),  GUICHE." 

Count  D'Orsay  was  a  year  younger  than  his  sister,  the  present 
Duchess  of  Grammont.  Shortly  after  the  death  of  the  count, 
by  the  desire  of  that  lady  I  visited  her  at  her  seat  at  Charnbour- 
cy,  near  St.  Germain  en  Laye.  Her  resemblance  to  her  brother 
is  striking.  A  more  dignified  and  commanding,  but,  withal,  ami 
able-looking  lady  I  have  seldom  met.  Though  her  face  and 
noble  form  had  been  touched  but  recently  by  the  hand  of  sorrow 
and  of  sickness,  the  remains  were  still  there  of  surpassing  love 
liness  and  beauty,  and  in  her  conversation  there  were  ample  evi- 

*  Byron  speaks  of  meeting  General  Count  Sebastiani,  "  a  cousin  of  Napoleon," 
in  London,  in  1810.  "  Sebastiani,"  he  observes,  is  "a  fine,  foreign,  villainous- 
looking,  intelligent,  and  very  agreeable  man." 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  299 

dences  of  a  high  order  of  intellect,  and  of  exalted  sentiments  of 
a  religious  kind.  Five-and-twenty  years  previously  she  was 
described  by  Lady  Blessington  as  the  most  striking-looking  wom 
an  she  ever  beheld.  Tall  and  graceful,  her  commanding  figure, 
at  once  dignified  and  perfectly  symmetrical,  was  in  harmony 
with  her  noble  features,  their  lofty  expression  of  superior  intel 
ligence,  and  the  imposing  character  of  her  conversational  powers. 

With  respect  to  Count  D'Orsay's  sentiments  on  the  subject  of 
religion  in  the  latter  part  of  his  life,  I  have  a  few  words  to  add. 

I  visited  my  poor  friend  a  few  weeks  before  his  death,  and 
found  him  evidently  sinking,  in  the  last  stage  of  disease  of  the 
kidneys,  complicated  with  spinal  complaint.  The  wreck  only 
of  the  beau  D'Orsay  was  there. 

He  was  able  to  sit  up  and  to  walk,  though  with  difficulty  and 
evidently  with  pain,  about  his  room,  which  was  at  once  his  stu 
dio,  reception  room,  and  sleeping  apartment.  He  burst  out  cry 
ing  when  I  entered  the  room,  and  continued  for  a  length  of  time 
so  much  affected  that  he  could  hardly  speak  to  me.  Gradually 
he  became  composed,  and  talked  about  Lady  Blessington's  death, 
but  all  the  time  with  tears  pouring  down  his  pale,  wan  face,  for 
even  then  his  features  were  death-stricken. 

He  said  with  marked  emphasis,  "  In  losing  her  I  lost  every 
thing  in  this  world — she  was  to  me  a  mother  !  a  dear,  dear  mother ! 
a  true,  loving  mother  to  me  /"  While  he  uttered  these  words,  he 
sobbed  and  cried  like  a  child.  And  referring  to  them,  he  again 
said,  "  You  understand  me,  Madden"  I  understood  him  to  be 
speaking  what  he  felt,  and  there  was  nothing  in  his  accents,  in 
his  position,  or  his  expressions  (for  his  words  sounded  in  my 
ears  like  those  of  a  dying  man)  which  led  me  to  believe  he 
was  seeking  to  deceive  himself  or  me. 

I  turned  his  attention  to  the  subject  I  thought  most  important 
to  him.  I  said,  among  the  many  objects  which  caught  my  at 
tention  in  the  room,  I  was  very  glad  to  see  a  crucifix  placed  over 
the  head  of  his  bed  ;  men  living  in  the  world,  as  he  had  done, 
were  so  much  in  the  habit  of  forgetting  all  early  religious  feel 
ings.  D'Orsay  seemed  hurt  at  the  observation.  I  then  plainly 
said  to  him,  "  The  fact  is,  T  imagined,  or  rather  T  supposed,  you 


300  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

had  followed  Lady  Blessington's  example,  if  not  in  giving  up 
your  own  religion,  in  seeming  to  conform  to  another  more  in 
voirue  in  England."  D'Orsay  rose  up  with  considerable  energy, 
and  stood  erect  and  firm  with  obvious  exertion  for  a  few  seconds, 
looking  like  himself  again,  and  pointing  to  the  head  of  the  bed, 
he  said,  "  Do  you  see  those  two  swords  ?"  pointing  to  two  small 
swords  (which  were  hung  over  the  crucifix  crosswise)  ;  "  do  you 
see  that  sword  to  the  right  ?  With  that  sword  I  fought  in  de 
fense  of  my  religion.  I  had  only  joined  my  regiment  a  few 
days,  when  an  officer  at  the  mess-table  used  disgusting  and  im 
pious  language  in  speaking  of  the  Blessed  Virgin.  I  called  on 
him  to  desist ;  he  repeated  the  foul  language  he  had  used  ;  I 
threw  a  plate  of  spinach  across  the  table  in  his  face  ;  a  chal 
lenge  ensued  ;  we  fought  that  evening  on  the  rampart  of  the 
town,  and  I  have  kept  that  sword  ever  since." 

Whatever  we  may  think  of  the  false  notions  of  honor,  or  the 
erroneous  ones  of  religion  which  may  have  prompted  the  en 
counter,  I  think  there  is  evidence  in  it  of  early  impressions  of  a 
religious  nature  having  been  made  on  the  mind  of  this  singular 
man,  and  of  some  remains  of  them  still  existing  at  the  period 
above  named,  however  strangely  presented. 

On  this  occasion,  Count  D'Orsay  informed  me  that  Lady  Bless- 
ington  never  ceased  "  in  her  heart"  to  be  a  Catholic,  although 
she  occasionally  attended  the  church  of  another  persuasion  ;  and 
that  while  she  was  in  Paris,  she  went  every  Sunday  to  the  Mad 
eleine,  in  company  with  some  member  of  his  family. 

And  here  I  may  observe,  that  on  one  occasion,  when  I  visited 
Lady  Blcssington  on  a  {Sunday,  after  her  return  from  church,  I 
found  her  with  several  visitors,  discussing  the  merits  of  the  ser 
mon  she  had  just  heard  preached.  Her  ladyship  inveighed 
strongly  against  the  sermon,  and  the  style  of  preaching  in  En 
gland. 

A  young  man  observed,  he  should  hardly  have  expected  such 
severe  censures  on  their  pulpit  from  a  person  of  such  high 
church  principles  as  her  ladyship. 

Lady  Blessington  said,  very  calmly,  and  more  deliberately  than 
usual.  ':  The  doctrines  of  the  Protestant  Church  never  appeared 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  301 

to  me  better  than  those  of  the  Catholic  Church.  I  was  educated 
in  the  doctrines  of  that  church.  When  I  married  I  got  into  the 
habit  of  accompanying  my  husband  to  his  church,  and  I  contin 
ued  to  go  there  from  the  force  of  habit  and  for  convenience,  but 
never  from  conviction  of  its  doctrines  being  better  than  those  of 
the  Catholic  Church." 

I  think  there  were  seven  or  eight  persons  present  when  this 
startling  avowal  was  made. 

But  perhaps  I  ought  to  have  observed,  fully  two  or  three  years 
before  that  period,  I  had  taken  the  liberty  of  an  old  and  privi 
leged  friend  to  write  a  letter  to  her  ladyship,  venturing  to  re 
mind  her  of  the  faith  she  had  been  born  in,  to  point  out  the  hol- 
lowness  of  the  pleasures  of  that  society  in  which  she  moved,  of 
the  insufficiency  of  them  for  her  true  happiness,  of  the  day  that 
must  come,  when  it  would  be  found  that  religion  was  of  more 
importance  than  all  the  fame,  or  glory,  or  delight  that  ever  was 
obtained  by  intellectual  powers,  or  enjoyed  in  brilliant  circles. 
And  though  that  letter  has  no  place  among  her  papers,  I  have 
reason  to  know  it  did  not  pass  altogether  out  of  her  memory. 

The  death  of  D'Orsay  was  thus  noticed  by  "  La  Presse,"  ed 
ited  by  Emile  Girardin,  of  the  5th  of  August,  1852  : 

"  Le  Cornte  Alfred  D'Orsay  cst  rnort  ce  matin  a  trois  heures. 

"  La  douleur  et  le  vide  de  cette  inort  seront  vivement  res- 

sentis  par  tous  les  amis  qu'il  comptait  en  si  grand  nombre  en 

France  et  en  Angleterre,  dans  tous  les  rangs  de  la  societe,  et 

sous  tous  les  drapeaux  de  la  politique. 

"  A  Londres,  les  salons  de  Gore  House  furent  toujours  ouverts 
a  tous  les  proscrits  politiques,  qu'ils  s'appelassent  Louis  Bona 
parte  ou  Louis  Blanc,  a  tous  les  naufrages  de  la  fortune  et  it 
toutes  les  illustrations  de  1'art  et  de  la  science. 

"  A  Paris,  il  n'avait  qu'un  vaste  atelier,  mais  ou  quiconque 
allait  frapper  au  nom  d'uii  malheur  a  secourir  ou  d'un  progres 
a  encourager,  etait  toujours  assure  du  plus  affable  accueil  et  du 
plus  cordial  concours. 

"  Avant  le  2  Decembre,  nul  ne  fit  d'efforts  plus  reiteres  pour 
que  la  politique  suivit  un  autre  cours  et  s'elevat  aux  plus  haute s 
aspirations 


302  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

"  Apres  le  2  Decembre,  nul  ne  s'ernploya  plus  activement 
pour  amortir  les  coups  de  la  proscription :  Pierre  Dupont  le  sait 
et  peut  le  certifier. 

"  Le  President  de  la  Republique  n'avait  pas  d,'ami  a  la  fois 
plus  devoue  et  plus  sincere  que  le  Comte  D'Orsay ;  et  c'est 
quand  il  venait  de  la  rapprocher  de  lui  par  le  titre  et  les  fonc- 
tions  de  surintendant  des  beaux-arts  qu'il  le  perd  pour  toujours. 

"C'est  une  perte  irreparable  pour  1'art  et  pour  les  artistes, 
mais  c'est  une  perte  plus  irreparable  encore  pour  la  verite  et 
pour  le  President  de  la  Republique,  car  les  palais  n'ont  que  deux 
portes  ouvertes  a  la  verite  :  la  porte  de  Pamitie  et  la  porte  de 
1'adversitc,  de  1'amitie  qui  est  a  1'adversite  ce  que  1'eclair  est  & 
la  foudre. 

"La  justice  indivisible,  la  justice  egale  pour  tous,  la  justice 
dont  la  mort  tient  les  balances  compte  les  jours  quand  elle  ne 
mesure  pas  les  dons.  Alfred  D'Orsay  avait  ete  comble  de  trop 
de  dons — grand  coeur,  esprit,  un  gout  pur,  beaute  antique,  force 
athletique,  adresse  incomparable  a  tous  les  exercices  du  corps, 
aptitude  incontestable  a  tous  les  arts  auxquels  il  s'etait  adonne  : 
dcssin,  peinture,  sculpture — Alfred  D'Orsay  avait  ete  comble  de 
trop  de  dons  pour  que  ses  jours  ne  fussent  pas  parcimonieuse- 
ment  comptes.  La  mort  ete  a  inexorable,  mais  elle  a  ete  juste. 
Elle  ne  Fa  pas  traite  en.  hornme  vulgaire.  Elle  ne  1'a  pas  pris, 
elle  1'a  choisi." 

Among  those  wbo  attended  the  funeral  of  Count  D'Orsay 
were  Prince  Napoleon  Bonaparte,  Count  de  Montaubon,  Count 
de  Latour  du  Pin,  the  Marquis  du  Pradt,  M.  Emile  de  Girardin, 
M.  Clesiriger,  the  sculptor  ;  M.  Charles  Lafitte,  M.  Bixio,  M.  Al- 
exandre  Dumas,  Jun.,  M.  Hughes  Ball,  and  several  other  En 
glish  gentlemen.  The  Duke  de  Grammont,  brother-in-law  of 
Count  D'Orsay,  being  confined  to  his  bed  by  illness,  Count  Al 
fred  de  Grammont  and  the  Duke  de  Lespare,  nephews  of  the 
deceased,  were  the  chief  mourners.  No  funeral  oration  was 
pronounced  over  the  body,  but  the  emotion  of  the  persons  pres 
ent  was  great,  and  the  sadness  of  the  scene  was  increased  by 
the  appearance  of  the  Duchess  de  Grammont,  sister  of  the  de 
ceased,  who,  with  her  husband,  had  assiduously  attended  him 
during  his  illness. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  393 

"  The  Bulletin  de  Paris  says,  '  When  the  news  of  the  death 
of  Count  D'Orsay  was  communicated  to  the  Prince  President,  he 
exclaimed  that  he  had  lost  "  his  best  friend."  '  The  same  jour 
nal  states  that  the  large  model  of  the  statue  of  Napoleon,  which 
Count  D'Orsay  was  making  from  a  small  one,  executed  by  Mor 
timer,  which  was  seen  at  the  London  Exhibition,  was  nearly 
terminated  at  the  time  of  his  death,  and  that  M.  Clesinger  was 
formally  charged  by  him  to  finish  his  marble  statue  of  the  ex- 
king  Jerome."* 

The  Prince  President,  we  are  told,  exclaimed,  when  he  heard 
of  the  death  of  Count  D'Orsay,  that  he  had  lost  "  his  best  friend." 
The  Prince  President  may  have  said  these  words,  and  the  day 
may  come  when  he  will  feel  that  Count  D'Orsay  was  one  of  his 
very  best  and  truest  friends,  when  he  raised  his  voice,  not  once 
or  twice,  but  frequently,  it  is  asserted,  against  the  meditated  act 
of  treason  to  the  government  he,  the  Prince  President,  had  sworn 
to  maintain. 

The  relations  that  existed  at  Gore  House  between  Count 
D'Orsay — something  more  than  a  mere  leader  of  fashion  in  Lon 
don — the  intimate  friend  of  statesmen  of  all  parties,  of  political 
people  of  great  eminence  in  Parliament,  of  editors  of  newspa 
pers,  mighty  men  of  influence  of"  the  fifth  estate  of  the  realm  ;" 
of  the  foreign  ministers  at  the  court  of  St.  James's,  and  the  sec 
retaries  of  the  several  legations  ;  and  though  last,  not  least  in 
importance,  the  intimate  and  confidential  friend  of  the  lady  at 
whose  reunions  in  Gore  House  of  the  celebrities  of  all  political 
parties  and  of  all  intellectual  pursuits  in  London — and  the  pro 
scribed  Prince  Louis  Napoleon,  the  twice  discomfited  conspira 
tor,  and  still  conspiring  refugee  in  England,  were  such  as  might 
have  been  expected  ;  they  were  most  intimate,  cordial,  and  con 
fiding.  To  those  relations,  it  may  be  truly  said,  without  exag 
geration  or  fear  of  contradiction,  the  proscribed  conspirator  was 
indebted  for  the  position  in  society,  the  opportunities  of  acquir 
ing  influence,  of  obtaining  an  early  and  timely  knowledge  of 
passing  events  in  foreign  courts,  and  especially  in  the  court  of 
France,  and  in  the  diplomatic  circles  in  London ;  and  also  of 
*  Gentleman's  Magazine,  September,  1852,  p.  308. 


304  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

promoting  his  views  in  France  "by  the  co-operation  of  Count 
D'Orsay's  immediate  friends  and  influential  connections,  which 
ultimately  secured  for  him  the  presidency  of  the  French  Re 
public.* 

But  the  coup  d'etat,  which  was  accomplished  at  the  expense 
of  personal  honor,  and  the  cost  of  perjury  and  blood,  put  an  end 
to  the  relations  of  amity  that  had  subsisted  hitherto  between 
Count  D'Orsay  and  Prince  Louis  Napoleon.  D'Orsay,  with  all 
his  faults,  was  a  man  of  chivalrous  notions  as  to  the  obligations 
of  solemn  promises  and  sacred  oaths  ;  he  believed  the  President 
of  the  Republic  had  violated  those  obligations,  and  D'Orsay  was 
not  a  man,  for  any  consideration  on  earth,  to  refrain  from  ex 
pressing  his  opinion  of  the  dishonor  of  such  a  violation.  Yery 

shortly  after  the  coup  d'etat,  a  friend  of  mine,  Monsieur  du  P , 

dined  in  Paris  at  the  house  of  a  French  nobleman  of  the  high 
est  rank,  where  Count  D'Orsay  was  present.  There  were  about 
twenty  or  two-and-twenty  persons  present,  persons  of  distinction 
and  of  various  political  sentiments.  The  all-important  topic  of 
the  coup  d'etat  was  discussed  for  some  time  with  all  due  pru 
dence  and  reserve.  D'Orsay  at  length  coming  out  with  one  of 

*  On  the  9th  of  April,  1849,  the  Duke  of  Wellington  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Count 
D'Orsay,  in  which  the  following  passage  occurs  :  "  Je  me  rejouis  do  la  prosperite 
de  la  France  et  du  succes  dc  M.  le  President  de  la  Republique.  Tout  tend  vers 
la  permanence  de  la  paix  de  1'Europe  qui  est  necessaire  pour  le  bonheur  de  chacun. 
Votre  ami  tres  devoue.  WELLINGTON." 

This  singular  letter  of  one  of  the  most  clear-sighted,  far-seeing  men  of  modern 
times,  was  written  after  the  election  of  Louis  Napoleon  to  the  presidency  of  the 
republic.  Not  after  the  coup  d'etat  of  December,  1851.  A  few  dates  of  remarkable 
occurrences  in  the  latter  part  of  the  career  of  Louis  Napoleon  will  enable  us  to 
form  a  better  idea  of  the  views  expressed  in  the  communication  above  referred  to. 

Louis  Napoleon  was  elected  President  of  the  Republic  the  10th  of  December, 
1848.  His  coup  d'etat,  the  arrest  of  the  leading  members  of  the  Chamber  of  Dep 
uties,  and  the  downfall  of  the  republic,  took  place  the  2d  of  December,  1851.  His 
presidential  powers  were  prolonged  for  ten  years  the  20th  of  December,  1851.  IIo 
was  proclaimed  emperor  the  2d  of  December,  1852,  then  in  his  forty-third  year, 
being  born  the  20th  of  April,  1808. 

From  the  time  of  the  Chartist  demonstration  in  London  in  1848,  when  the 
Prince  Louis  Napoleon  (then  in  exile)  was  sworn  in  as  a  special  constable  for  the 
preservation  of  the  peace  in  the  metropolis  of  England,  to  the  period  when  he  was 
proclaimed  Emperor  of  the  French  in  December,  1852,  there  was  an  interval  of 
about  four  years  and  a  half. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  395 

his  customary  notes  of  preparation,  "a  bas  .'"  made  short  work 
of  the  reserve  and  prudence  of  the  discussion.  He  expressed 
his  opinion  in  English  in  a  deliberate  manner,  speaking  in  a  loud 
tone,  but  emphatically  and  distinctly,  these  words  :  "  It  is  the 
greatest  political  swindle  that  has  ever  been  practiced  in  the  world!" 

My  friend,  who  was  deeply  interested  in  the  welfare  of  D'Or- 
say,  was  dismayed  at  "  the  indiscretion  of  this  explosion  of  opin 
ion."  It  was  like  a  bomb-shell  in  the  circle.  There  were  per 
sons  present  who  might  be  supposed  to  have  to  advance  their 
fortunes  by  the  prince's  favor ;  there  were  several  servants  in  the 
room  at  the  time,  moreover,  and  it  might  be  reasonably  feared  at 
that  period  the  police  were  not  remiss  in  making  themselves 
acquainted  with  the  servants  of  all  persons  of  political  influence 
and  importance  in  Paris. 

It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  D'Orsay  at  that  time  was  wholly 
dependent  on  the  favor  of  the  prince  for  his  future  position  in 
his  own  country.  He  had  left  England  utterly  ruined  in  his  cir 
cumstances,  and  came  to  France  counting  on  the  friendship  and 
gratitude  of  his  former  friend  at  the  head  of  the  French  repub 
lic,  to  whose  elevation  he  had  certainly  very  largely  contributed. 
He  was  well  received  by  the  prince,  and  proffers  of  public  em 
ployment  adequate  to  his  expectations  and  his  talents  were  made 
to  him.  But  after  the  period  of  the  coup  d'etat  and  the  dinner 
above  referred  to — post  or  propter  that  entertainment  —  the 
friendship  of  the  prince  for  the  count  cooled  down  from  blood 
heat  to  the  freezing  point,  and  eventually  to  zero.  The  man 
with  the  heavy  eyelids,  and  the  leaden  hand  of  care  and  calcu 
lation  pressing  them  down,  when  he  imposed  on  himself  the 
weight  of  empire,  could  not  see  his  former  friends  without  look 
ing  down  on  them,  and  D'Orsay  was  not  a  man  to  be  looked 
down  on,  or  coldly  at,  even  by  an  emperor.  For  eighteen  months 
before  his  death  his  relations  with  Louis  Napoleon  had  wholly 
ceased. 

The  prince  at  last,  when  D'Orsay  was  laboring  under  the  ill 
ness  which  soon  after  consigned  him  to  an  early  grave,  allowed 
himself  to  be  persuaded,  by  urgent  arid  pressing  friends  of  the 
poor  count,  that  his  former  friend  had  some  claim  on  him.  The 


306  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

emperor  deigned  to  recognize  the  claim.  His  imperial  majesty 
appointed  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay  "  Director  of  Fine  Arts."  Of 
all  things  it  can  not  be  said  truly  "  better  late  than  never." 
This  thing,  that  was  meant  to  look  like  an  act  of  kindness  and 
of  gratitude,  was  too  late  to  be  of  any  use.  No  one  was  bet 
tered  or  deceived  by  it. 

I  spoke  with  some  surprise  of  similar  acts  of  the  same  exalt 
ed  personage  to  Lamennais,  not  long  before  his  death;  the  abbe, 
with  the  quiet  look,  the  cold,  unimpassioned  expression  of  the 
bright,  clear  gray  eyes  of  his,  observed,  "  Voyez  vous  mon  chcr 
Monsieur  Madden,  cctte  homme  la,  n'a  pas  le  sentiment  ni  du 
bien,  ni  du  mal — il  n'a  pas  de  sentiment  quo  de  soi  merne." 
English  history,  as  well  as  French,  will  yet  have  to  ratify  the 
opinion  of  the  Abbe  Lamennais. 

Among  the  papers  of  Lady  Blessington  I  find  some  very  re 
markable  lines  by  a  very  remarkable  man,  one  of  the  master 
spirits  of  original  mind  of  his  age — lines  which  might  be  read 
with  advantage  by  all  "  swimmers  in  the  stream  of  politics." 

"  SOME  ADDITIONAL  LINES  FOR  A  POEM,  ONE  OF  THE  THEMES  OF  WHICH 

IS  THE  QUEST  OF  HONOR. 
"  The  swimmers  in  the  stream  of  politics, 
That  keep  each  other  down  where  none  float  high 
But  who  are  rotten,  shouted  in  my  ear, 
'  Come  hither  !  here  is  honor,  on  this  side  ; 
He  hates  the  other.' 

I  passed  on,  nor  look'd, 
Knowing  the  voices  well  :  they  troubled  me 
Vociferating  :  I  searched  for  willow  wand 
To  scourge  and  silence  the  importunates, 
And  turned  me  round  :  lo  !  they  were  all  upon 
The  farther  bank,,  and,  basking  in  the  sun, 
Mowed  at  me,  and  defied  me  to  cross  o'er, 
And  broke  their  cakes,  and  gave  their  curs  the  crumbs, 
Weary  with  wanderings." 

In.  bringing  this  sketch  of  the  career  of  Count  Alfred  D'Orsay 
to  a  close,  a  summary  notice  of  his  most  remarkable  qualities, 
his  talents,  and  the  application  of  them,  is  given,  that  the  reader 
may  be  able  to  form  a  just  estimate  of  his  character  and  abilities. 

One  was  reminded  not  unfrequently,  by  the  wit  combats  at 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  307 

Gore  House,  of  the  days  of  the  Chevalier  de  Grammont,  when 
Dorset,  Sedley,  Ethelridge,  Denham,  Killigrew,  "  and  all  the 
whole  band  of  wits"*  diverted  the  beau  monde  with  bon  mots, 
sarcastic  repartees,  quaint  observations,  humorous  sallies,  and 
sharply-pointed  epigrams,  brought  to  bear  on  striking  peculiar 
ities  of  absent  acquaintances,  or  well-known  persons  of  quality 
within  the  category  of  "  precieuses  ridicules." 

"The  wits"  of  the  age  of  Horace  Walpole  were  pretty  much 
the  same  as  those  of  the  times  of  Holland  House  and  Kensing 
ton  Gore  intellectual  gladiatorship.  The  wit  combatants  of  both 
in  the  arena  of  fashionable  literary  circles  are  composed  of  va 
rious  grades  of  competitors  for  celebrity  and  pretenders  to  dis 
tinction,  and  success  in  sprightly  conversation,  in  lively  corre 
spondence,  and  occasional  written  drolleries  in  prose  and  verse; 
the  efforts  of  all  are  to  amuse  and  to  be  distinguished,  and  for 
these  ends  they  must  exhibit  a  keen  perception  of  the  ridicu 
lous,  a  facility  for  catching  salient  points  in  conversation,  and 
combining  apparent  similitudes  of  things  ludicrous  in  them 
selves  with  ideas  of  subjects  naturally  grave  or  serious  ;  they 
must  evince  a  strong  sense  of  the  obligations  imposed  on  vivacity 
of  mind  and  liveliness  of  imagination  by  the  patronage  of  people 
a  la  mode  or  a  favored  position  in  society ;  they  must  submit  to 
the  necessity,  in  short,  of  amusing  its  magnates  by  a  felicitous 
expression  of  quaint,  jocund,  and  striking  thoughts  opportunely 
brought  forth  and  without  apparent  effort.  In  this  strife  of  high 
ly-excited  intellectuality,  mere  pleasant  conversationalists  jostle 
against  story-tellers  and  retailers  of  anecdotes  of  more  or  less 
celebrity,  humorists  at  table  after  the  cloth  is  taken  away,  and 
only  then  at  home  in  broad  and  farcical  jests,  and  in  impromptu 
double  entendres  come  in  contact  with  the  pet  poets  of  the  salons, 
who  figure  in  albums,  and  compose  vcrs  de  societc  on  the  spur 
of  the  occasion,  previously  expected  or  anticipated,  furnish  par 
odies  and  burlesques  to  order,  conveyed  in  an  invitation  to  din 
ner,  and  sit  down  deliberately  to  load  their  memories  in  private, 
and  with  malice  in  their  wit  aforethought,  and  come  charged 
into  company  with  sarcastic  epigrams,  to  be  fired  oft  in  public 

*  Memoirs  of  Grammont,  p.  189. 


308  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

at  the  peculiarities  of  absent  friends,  or  the  failings  or  absurd 
ities  of  the  celebrities  of  other  circles.  In  this  sharp  encounter 
of  keen  wits,  the  mere  punster,  endowed  with  great  natural 
powers  of  impudence,  and  a  large  stock  of  animal  spirits,  whose 
whole  laborious  leisure  is  devoted  to  the  amusement  of  playing 
upon  words,  is  to  be  met  cheek  by  jowl  at  the  same  tournament 
with  one  like  Curran,  not  always,  however,  to  be  found  in  the 
most  brilliant  circles  of  fashion,  or  salons  of  ladies  of  literature 
a  la  jnodc,  whose  wit  is  "  as  keen  as  his  sword,  but  as  polished 
as  the  scabbard,"  which  relies  011  its  success  neither  on  flippant 
sarcasms,  or  vulgar  scoffing  in  society  at  high  principles  or  he 
roic  actions,  or  sneering  humorous  observations  on  sacred  or  on 
serious  subjects,  but  on  its  own  bright  light  of  intellectuality, 
condensed  and  capable,  when  called  into  action,  of  irradiating 
every  subject  on  which  it  glances  even  for  a  moment. 

"When  the  mind  of  genius  is  charged  with  intellectual  elec 
tricity,  we  have  sparkles  of  intelligence  flashing  from  the  as 
similation  of  dissimilar  ideas,  which  have  been  suddenly,  and 
apparently  accidentally,  brought  into  collision  ;  and  these  fitful 
gleams  of  bright  thoughts,  felicitously  expressed,  constitute  what 
is  called  wit. 

But  we  have  as  many  kinds  of  these  bright  emanations  of  in 
tellectuality  as  we  have  of  atmospheric  meteors  in  all  the  va 
ried  forms  of  electrical  phenomena. 

Perhaps  the  highest  order  of  wit  exhibited  in  our  times  (the 
keenest  wit  combined  with  the  greatest  powers  of  eloquence') 
was  that  which  was  displayed  by  Curran  in  public  and  in  pri 
vate. 

Of  Curran's  conversational  powers,  Byron,  in  his  mernor.in- 

durn-book,  has  spoken  in  terms  of  no  stinted  praise  :   "  Curran  ' 

Curran  !    the   man  who    struck  me   most.      Such  imagination  ! 

There  never  was  any  thing  like  it  that  I  ever  saw  or  heard  of. 

His  published  life — his  published  speeches,  give  you  no  idea  of 

the  man — none  at  all.     He  was  a  machine  of  imagination  ;   as 

some  one  said  of  Piron,  that  he  was  an  epigrammatic  machine."* 

Elsewhere  in  his   memoranda  he   said,  "The  riches  of  his 

*  Moore's  Life  of  Byron,  p.  304,  8vo  ed.,  1838. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  399 

(Curran's)  Irish  imagination  were  exhaustless.  I  have  heard 
that  man  speak  more  poetry  than  I  have  ever  seen  written, 
though  I  saw  him  seldom,  and  but  occasionally.  I  saw  him 
presented  to  Madam  de  Stael.  It  was  the  great  confluence  be 
tween  the  Rhone  and  the  Saone." 

The  wits  of  Horace  Walpole's  day,  Sir  George  Selwyn,  Sir 
Hanbury  Williams,  Bubb  Doddington,  Charles  Townsend,  and 
their  associates,  it  is  difficult  to  judge  of  at  the  distance  of  a 
century  from  their  times.  But  it  would  appear  their  wit  was 
of  the  social,  unpremeditated,  conversational  character,  in  which 
Sydney  Smith,  Talleyrand,  Hook,  and  Barham  particularly  ex 
celled  in  our  times. 

For  conversational  humor  and  drollery  in  the  composition  of 
quizzical  verses,  Sir  Charles  Hanbury  Williams,  the  protege  of 
Sir  Robert  Walpolc  (if  his  contemporaries  speak  truly  of  him), 
can  hardly  have  been  excelled  by  any  modern  humorist.  The 
social  character  of  the  clubs,  taverns,  or  coffee-houses  of  those 
days  was  favorable  to  the  development  of  conversational  talent.* 

Selwyn,  the  man  renowned  for  social  wit,  was  utterly  defi 
cient  in  the  gift  of  oratory.  He  sat  forty  years  in  Parliament 
for  Gloucester,  and  never  spoke  on  any  question.  He  was  al 
ways  torpid  as  well  as  silent  in  the  House. 

Sir  Hanbury  Williams,  the  celebrated  sayer  also  of  bo?i  mots, 
and  composer  of  pointed  epigrams,  a  man  of  astounding  audac 
ity  in  turning  sacred  subjects  into  ridicule,  and  treating  the 
most  solemn  subjects  with  flippant  jocularity  and  revolting  lev 
ity,  sat  in  the  House  of  Commons  a  silent  member,  rapt  in 
gloom,  which  terminated  in  insanity  and  suicide. 

"  Sayers  of  good  things,"  in  general,  are  not  men  of  great 
powers  of  eloquence.  Wits  who  can  set  the  table  in  a  roar,  and 
give  utterance  to  bon  mots  of  remarkable  drollery,  may  be  inca 
pable  of  delivering  twenty  consecutive  sentences  on  any  serious 
subject  before  a  number  of  people  prepared  to  listen  to  them. 

*  Count  D'Orsay  was  a  member  of  Crockford's  as  long  as  it  lasted,  and  after 
ward  of  the  Coventry.  An  attempt  was  made  to  get  him  into  "  White's,"  but  it 
was  discovered  there  were  some  parties  who  were  determined  to  exclude  him, 
and  consequently  his  friends  withdrew  his  name  before  the  ballot  took  place. 


310  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

D'Orsay  was  no  exception  to  the  rule.  He  abounded  in  rich 
humor,  and  excelled  in  repartee.  There  was  an  air  of  aristo 
cratic  nonchalance  in  the  grave  irony  of  his  conversational  sal 
lies.  He  gave  vent  to  his  wit  in  the  quietest  tone,  and  with 
the  most  immovable  features  possible.  He  was  an  adept  in  the 
art  of  quizzing  people  who  were  at  all  ridiculous  with  singular 
composure  of  mien  and  manner.  His  performances  in  this  line 
were  gone  through  with  ease  and  elegance,  but  the  gift  of  elo 
quence  was  not  bestowed  on  him. 

Of  D'Orsay's  rich  humor  arid  repartee,  it  might  be  said,  like 
Selwyii's  : 

"His  social  wit,  which,  never  kindling  strife, 

Blazed  in  the  small,  sweet  courtesies  of  life  ; 

Those  little  sapphires  round  the  diamond  shone, 

Lending  soft  radiance  to  the  richer  stone/' 

It  would  be  difficult  to  convey  in  words  any  precise  idea  of 
D'Orsay's  Avit  and  powers  of  facetiousness  in  conversation.  A 
mere  report  would  be  in  vain  of  the  ban  mots  he  uttered,  with 
out  a  faithful  representation  of  his  quiet,  imperturbable  manner, 
his  arch  look,  the  command  of  varied  emphasis  in  his  utterance, 
the  anticipatory  indications  of  coming  drollery  in  the  expression 
of  his  countenance,  the  power  of  making  his  entourage  enter  into 
his  thoughts,  and  his  success  in.  prefacing  his  jcu  d'esprit  by  sig 
nificant  glances  and  gestures,  suggestive  of  ridiculous  ideas. 

The  literary  artist  who  could  describe  these  peculiarities  must 
be  no  ordinary  word-painter. 

L)'0rsay  had  made  a  study  of  the  wit  of  Talleyrand,  and  he 
became  a  proficient  in  that  species  of  refined  conversational 
esprit,  combining  terseness  of  language,  and  neatness  of  expres 
sion,  and  certitude  of  aim,  with  the  polish  of  the  shaft  and  the 
sharpness  of  the  point  of  an  intellectual  weapon  of  rare  excel 
lence. 

The  macaronis  of  a  century  ago,  the  bucks,  bloods,  and  bcaus 
of  a  later  period,  represented  by  the  fops,  exquisites,  or  dandies 
— the  inane  cxclusives — the  ephemeral  petits  mat  ires  of  our 
times,  are  not  the  tribe  which  furnish  men  of  fashion  of  D'Or 
say's  stamp.  D'Orsay  was  a  fop  in  attire  and  appearance,  but 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  31 1 

his  foppery  was  only  a  spice  of  vanity,  superadded  to  superior 
intellectual  powers,  which  condescended  at  times  to  assume  a 
dandyish  character. 

D'Orsay's  fine  taste  was  particularly  exhibited  in  the  con 
struction  and  turn-out  of  those  well-known,  elegant  vehicles  of 
his  and  Lady  Blessington,  which  used  to  attract  so  much  atten 
tion  in  Hyde  Park  a  few  years  ago.  D'Orsay,  like  Grammont, 
has  left  reminiscences  of  promenade  achievements — "  a  cheval 
ct  en  voiture" — in  that  favored  locality,  but  of  a  very  different 
character. 

In  the  time  of  Grammont,  "  Hyde  Park,  as  every  one  knows, 
was  the  promenade  of  London."  In  1659  it  was  thus  described 
to  a  nobleman  of  France  : 

"  I  did  frequently,  in  the  spring,  accompany  my  Lord  N 

into  a  field  near  the  town,  which  they  call  Hide  Park  ;  the  place 
not  unpleasant,  and  which  they  use  as  our  course,  but  with 
nothing  of  that  order,  equipage,  arid  splendor  ;  being  such  an 
assembly  of  wretched  jades  and  hackney-coaches,  as,  next  a 
regiment  of  carr  men,  there  is  nothing  approaching  the  resem 
blance.  The  Park  was,  it  seems,  used  by  the  late  king  and  no 
bility  for  the  freshness  of  the  air  and  the  goodly  prospect,"* 
&c 

In  these  latter  days  Hyde  Park  makes  a  different  figure  in  the 
pages  of  Mr.  Patmore.  The  scene  he  describes  is  the  ring,  and 
the  writer  of  the  sketch  is  supposed  to  be  lounging  there,  gaz 
ing  at  the  brilliant  equipages  as  they  pass,  and  the  celebrities 
of  fashion  who  figure  there. 

"  Observe  that  green  chariot,  just  making  the  turn  of  the  un 
broken  line  of  equipages.  Though  it  is  now  advancing  toward 
us,  with  at  least  a  dozen  carriages  between,  it  is  to  be  distin 
guished  from  the  throng  by  the  elevation  of  its  driver  and  foot 
man  above  the  ordinary  level  of  the  line.  As  it  comes  nearer, 
we  can  observe  the  particular  points  which  give  it  that  perfectly 
distingue  appearance  which  it  bears  above  all  others  in  the 
throng.  They  consist  of  the  white  wheels,  lightly  picked  out 

*  A  Character  of  England,  as  it  was  lately  presented  to  a  Nobleman  of  France, 
12mo,  1659,  p.  51.  Ap.  Grammont's  Mem. 


312 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 


with  green  and  crimson ;  the  high-stepping  action,  blood-like 
shape,  and  brilliant  manege  of  its  dark  bay  horses  ;  the  perfect 
style  of  its  driver ;  the  height  (six  feet  two)  of  its  slim,  spider- 
limbed,  powdered  footman,  perked  up  at  least  three  feet  above 
the  roof  of  the  carriage,  and  occupying  his  eminence  with  that 
peculiar  air  of  accidental  superiority,  half  petit  maitrc,  half 
plow-boy,  which  we  take  to  be  the  ideal  of  footman  perfection  ; 
and,  finally,  the  exceedingly  light,  airy,  and  (if  we  may  so  speak) 
the  intellectual  character  of  the  whole  set-out.  The  arms  and 
supporters  blazoned  on  the  centre  panels,  and  the  small  coronet 
beneath  the  window,  indicate  the  nobility  of  station  ;  and  if 
ever  the  nobility  of  nature  was  blazoned  on  the  '  complement 
extern'  of  humanity,  it  is  on  the  lovely  face  within — lovely  as 
ever,  though  it  has  been  loveliest  among  the  lovely  for  a  longer 
time  than  we  dare  call  to  our  own  recollection,  much  less  to 
that  of  the  fair  being  before  us. 

"  But,  see  !  what  is  this  vision  of  the  age  of  chivalry,  that 
comes  careering  toward  us,  on  horseback,  in  the  form  of  a  stately 
cavalier,  than  whom  nothing  has  been  witnessed  in  modern 
times  more  noble  in  air  and  bearing,  more  splendid  in  person, 
more  distingue  in.  dress,  more  consummate  in  equestrian  skill, 
more  radiant  in  intellectual  expression,  and  altogether  more 
worthy  and  fitting  to  represent  one  of  those  knights  of  the  olden 
time,  who  warred  for  truth  and  beauty  beneath  the  banner  of 
Cceur  de  Lion.  It  is  Count  D'Orsay,  son-in-law  of  the  late  Lord 
Blessington,  and  brother  to  the  beautiful  Duchesse  tie  Quiche. 
Those  who  have  the  pleasure  of  being  personally  intimate  with 
this  accomplished  foreigner  will  confirm  our  testimony  that  no 
man  has  ever  been  more  popular  in  the  upper  circles,  or  has 
better  deserved  to  be  so.  His  inexhaustible  good  spirits  and 
good  nature,  his  lively  wit,  his  generous  disposition,  and  his  varied 
acquirements,  make  him  the  favorite  companion  of  his  own  sex  ; 
while  his  unrivaled  personal  pretensions  render  him,  to  say  the 
least,  'the  observed  of  all  observers'  of  the  other  sex.  Indeed, 
since  the  loss  of  poor  William  Locke,  there  has  been  nobody  to 
even  dispute  the  palrn  of  female  admiration  with  Count  D'Or 


say."* 


*  My  Friends  and  Acquaintances,  &c.,  vol.  i.,  p.  194. 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  313 

D'Orsay's  position  in  English  fashionable  society  was  not  due 
to  rank,  wealth,  or  connections,  or  to  his  generally  admitted  ex 
cellence  of  taste  in  all  matters  appertaining  to  attire,  equipage, 
the  adornment  of  saloons,  "  the  getting  up"  of  liveries,  the  train 
ing  of  his  tigers,  or  the  turning  out  of  cabs,  tilburies,  chariots, 
and  other  vehicles  remarkable  for  elegance  of  form  or  lightness 
of  construction. 

It  is  very  evident  that  the  individual  was  something  more 
than  a  mere  fop  and  man  of  fashion,  or  "  a  compound  even  of 
Hercules  and  Adonis,"  who  could  count  among  his  friends  the 
Duke  of  Wellington,  Marquis  Wellesley,  the  Lords  Brougham, 
Lyndhurst,  and  Byron  ;  and  such  men  as  Landor,  Forster,  D 'Is 
raeli,  the  Bulwers,  <fee. 

The  foreigner  could  be  no  ordinary  person  who  figured  in  the 
society  of  the  most  eminent  men  of  England  for  nearly  twenty 
years,  and  who,  in  circles  where  genius,  as  well  as  haut  ton,  had 
its  shrines,  "  claimed  kindred  there,  and  had  his  claim  allowed." 

D'Orsay's  celebrity  was  undisputed  as  a  man  of  fashion — 
a  noble-looking,  classically-moulded,  English-mannered  young 
Frenchman  "of  the  vicllc  cour"  —  a  beau  monde  gentleman,  at 
once  graceful,  dignified,  frank,  and  dcbonnaire,  full  of  life,  wit, 
humor,  and  originality — an  "  exquisite"  of  the  first  water  in  brill 
iant  circles — an  admirable  rider,  fit  "  to  witch  the  world"  of  the 
Parks  of  London  "with  noble  horsemanship;"  a  keen  sports 
man,  a  capital  boxer  for  an  amateur,  a  good  swimmer,  an  excel 
lent  swordsman,  a  famous  shot,  a  celebrated  cricket-player  ;  at 
one  time  a  great  collector  of  classical  rarities,  "  far  gone  (like 
Horace  Walpole  in  his  youth)  in  medals,  lamps,  idols,  prints, 
and  all  the  small  commodities  of  antiquity  ;"  at  another  time  a 
zealous  partisan  of  a  great  conspirator,  and  great  promoter  of 
his  plans  to  effect  a  revolution. 

Alfred  D'Orsay  figured,  in  his  day,  in  all  these  characters  ; 
but,  alas  !  of  what  avail  to  his  memory  is  the  celebrity  he  ob 
tained  in  any  of  them  ? 

All  the  celebrity  which  his  true  friends  may  desire  to  be 
coupled  with  his  name  is  that  which  he  derived  from  the  ex 
ercise  of  his  fine  talents  as  an  artist,  and  of  his  kindly  feelings 

VOL.  !.— 0 


314  NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

as  a  man  naturally  disposed  to  be  benevolent,  generous,  and 
open-hearted. 

In  Dickens's  "Household  Words"  (No.  176,  p.  536)  there  are 
a  few  kind  words  spoken  of  poor  D'Orsay,  in  some  allusions 
made  to  the  former  occupants  of  "  the  little  stuccoed  houses"  of 
Kensington  Gore,  contiguous  to  Lady  Blessington's  :  "  At  number 
5  lived  Count  D'Orsay,  whose  name  is  publicly  synonymous 
with  elegant  and  graceful  accomplishments  ;  and  who,  by  those 
who  knew  him  well,  is  affectionately  remembered  and  regretted 
as  a  man  whose  great  abilities  might  have  raised  him  to  any 
distinction,  and  whose  gentle  heart  even  a  world  of  fashion  left 
unspoiled." 

Mr.  Patrnore,  in  his  recent  work,  "  My  Friends  and  Acquaint 
ances"  (vol.  i.,  p.  230),  alluding  to  one  of  the  chief  difficulties 
of  Count  D'Orsay's  social  position  in  England,  and  the  anomalies 
in  the  constitution  of  fashionable  society  there,  says  :  "  And  yet 
it  was  in  England  that  Count  D'Orsay,  while  a  mere  boy,  made 
the  fatal  mistake  of  marrying  one  beautiful  woman,  while  he 
was,  without  daring  to  confess  it  even  to  himself,  madly  in  love 
with  another  still  more  beautiful,  whom  he  could  not  marry — 
because,  I  say,  under  these  circumstances,  and  discovering  his 
fatal  error  when  too  late,  he  separated  himself  from  his  wife  al 
most  at  the  church  door,  he  was,  during  the  greatest  part  of  his 
social  career  in  England,  cut  off  from  the  advantages  of  the  more 
fastidious  portion  of  high  female  society  by  the  indignant  fiat 
of  its  heads  and  leaders." 

A  man  in  his  twenty-seventh  year  can  hardly  be  designated 
as  a  mere  boy,  nor  can  the  circumstance  of  his  separation  from 
his  wife  "  almost  at  the  church  door"  be  accounted  for  in  any 
manner  that  will  appear  excusable  to  the  friends  of  the  young 
deserted  wife,  or  the  fastidious  portion  of  high  female  society  in 
England  or  elsewhere.  This  marriage  was  not  only  a  great 
misfortune  for  those  who  were  married,  but  a  great  crime  on  the 
part  of  those  who  promoted  that  marriage,  and  were  consenting 
to  it. 

If  any  comment  must  be  made  on  this  unfortunate  union  and 
its  results,  might  it  not  be  better  to  summon  courage,  and,  taking 


NOTICE  OF  COUNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY.  315 

counsel  of  Montesquieu,  to  speak  out  a  solemn  truth  on  an  oc 
casion  that  can  be  best  served  by  its  enumeration  ? 

"  Religion,  good  or  bad,  is  the  only  test  we  have  for  the  probity 
of  men" 

There  is  no  dependence  to  be  placed  in  probity  or  purity  of 
life  without  the  protection  of  religion.  Human  honor  is  inade 
quate  to  the  security  of  either.  There  is  an  amount  of  indi 
gence  at  which  honor,  long  resisting,  will  stagger  in  the  end  ; 
there  is  a  degree  of  temptation  at  which  honor  will  suffer  vice 
to  approach  her  in  the  mask  of  innocent  freedom,  and  will  dally 
with  it  till  infamy  itself  becomes  familiar  to  her  bosom.  But 
respectable  folks,  who  figure  in  good  society,  solemn-faced  sa 
ges  and  literary  celebrities,  will  say  it  is  false  :  honor  is  alone 
sufficient  to  regulate  the  minds  of  educated  men,  and  to  prevent 
all  disorders  in  society.  It  is  to  libel  honor  to  say  that  it  is  suf 
ficiently  strong  to  bind  respectable  members  without  religion, 
and  that  the  latter  is  only  needful  for  the  happiness  of  people 
in  another  world.  Nevertheless,  there  is  not  one  of  those  peo 
ple  who  does  not  know  in  his  own  breast  that  such  is  not  the 
case — that  in  his  own  character  and  conduct  the  assertion  does 
not  hold  good,  and  in  very  few  of  those  of  the  individuals  with 
whom  he  is  best  acquainted.  There  is  no  dependence  on  any 
man's  probity  or  any  woman's  virtue  whose  reliance  is  not 
placed  in  religion. 

Nothing  more  can  be  said  with  profit  or  advantage  on  this 
subject,  except  that  it  is  deeply  to  be  lamented  this  marriage 
was  forced  on  Count  D'Orsay,  and  that  he  consented  to  contract 
a  marriage  with  a  young  lady  for  whom  he  entertained  no  sen 
timents  of  love  or  kindness. 

It  would  be  very  unjust  to  D'Orsay,  with  all  his  errors,  to 
place  him  in  the  same  category  with  his  profligate  countryman 
De  Grammont,  and  still  more  unjust  to  set  him  down  on  the 
same  list  with  the  Dukes  of  Buckingham,  Wharton,  and  (Queens- 
berry,  and  the  more  modern  antiquated  libertine  of  exalted  rank 
and  vast  possessions,  the  Marquis  of  Hertford. 

In  one  very  essential  matter  he  differed  from  most  of  them. 
Though  practically  not  living  in  the  world  of  fashion  under  the 


316  iNOTiCE  OF  COUiNT  ALFRED  D'ORSAY. 

restraints  of  religion,  all  the  influences  of  an  early  recollection 
of  its  sacred  character  were  not  lost,  and  these,  which,  in  the 
midst  of  a  wild  and  thoughtless  career,  sufficed  at  least  to  show 
that  all  respect  for  that  character  had  not  been  wholly  aban 
doned,  and  that  they  were  still  faintly  perceptible  in  some  of  the 
noble  qualities  possessed  by  him,  at  the  close  of  life  were  strong 
ly  manifested,  and  made  the  mode  of  his  departure  from  it  the 
best,  the  only  consolation  taken  that  could  be  given  to  a  sister 
eminently  good  and  spiritually  minded. 

The  close  of  that  career,  and  the  ministrations  on  it,  form  a 
strong  contrast  with  the  termination  of  a  life  of  an  English  duke, 
and  the  attendance  on  a  death-bed,  of  which  Sir  N.  Wraxall, 
in  his  Memoirs,  has  left  a  remarkable  description. 

"When  Q/ueensberry  lay  dying,  in  December,  1810,  his  bed 
was  covered  with  billets  and  letters  to  the  number  of  at  least 
seventy,  mostly,  indeed,  addressed  to  him  by  females  of  every 
description  and  of  every  rank,  from  duchesses  down  to  ladies 
of  easiest  virtue.  Unable,  from  his  attenuated  state,  to  open  or 
peruse  them,  he  ordered  them,  as  they  arrived,  to  be  laid  on  his 
bed,  where  they  remained,  the  seals  unbroken,  till  he  expired." 

If  the  sordid  homage  paid  to  the  wealth  of  the  expiring  deb 
auchee  had  been  offered  only  by  the  ladies  of  easiest  virtue, 
there  might  be  little  to  be  surprised  at ;  but  what  is  to  be  said 
or  thought  of  the  ladies  of  reputed  virtue,  of  exalted  rank,  who 
manifested  so  much  sympathy  for  the  old  libertine  of  enormous 
wealth,  and  still  more  enormous  wickedness  ? 

Society  suffers  little  from  charity  toward  its  erring  members, 
but  morality  suffers  a  great  deal  when  habitual  vice  and  dis 
soluteness  of  life  of  persons  in  high  places  or  regal  station,  which 
never  has  been  abandoned  or  repented  of,  find  sycophants  and 
slaves  to  pander  to  them,  and  people,  forgetful  of  the  dignity  of 
their  position  or  their  pursuits,  to  lend  their  services  to  palliate 
them. 

Count  Alfred  D'Orsay  died  in  Paris,  the  Hh  of  August,  1852, 
in  his  fifty-second  year,  having  survived  the  Countess  of  Blcss- 
ington  three  years  and  two  months.  His  remains  were  laid  in 
the  same  sepulchral  chamber  in  which  hers  were  deposited. 


PRELIMINARY  NOTICE,  ETC.  317 

The  monument  erected  to  her  memory  at  Chambourcy  had  been 
hardly  finished,  when  it  became  the  resting-place  of  all  that  is 
left  of  the  accomplished,  highly-gifted,  generous-hearted  Alfred 
D'Orsay  ; 

"  Pulvis  et  umbra,  nomen,  nihil." 


CHAPTER  XIV. 

PRELIMINARY    NOTICE    OF    THE    CORRESPONDENCE    OF    LADY 
BLESSIXGTON. 

THERE  is  one  thing  well  worthy  of  observation,  and  that  must 
strike  every  person  who  looks  over  the  extensive  correspondence 
of  Lady  Blessington,  namely,  the  implicit  trust  that  was  put  in 
her  judgment  and  integrity  by  the  most  eminent  men  of  her 
time  in  politics,  literature,  and  art.  Statesmen  of  great  renown 
for  wisdom,  judges  and  grave  lawyers,  men  of  letters  and  sci 
ence  devoted  to  philosophical  pursuits,  seem  to  have  had  entire 
confidence  in  her  honor,  discretion,  and  common  sense  and  kind 
ness  of  heart.  They  communicated  with  her  with  the  utmost 
freedom,  and  evidently  with  a  firm  conviction  that  their  con 
fidence  would  never  be  abused.  In  their  letters  it  is  plainly  to 
be  seen  how  fully  sensible  they  were  the  only  account  that  con 
fidence  would  be  ever  turned  to  by  Lady  Blessington  would  be 
to  promote  peace  where  strife  had  sprung  up  ;  to  make  people 
who  had  been  estranged  think  less  unkindly  of  one  another  ;  and 
those  who  were  at  variance*  disposed  to  consider  that  the  state 
of  nature  in  their  several  pursuits  was  not  a  state  of  war. 

Lady  Blessingtoii's  correspondents  were  not  of  one  class,  or 
country,  or  profession,  or  pursuit ;  they  were  of  all  orders  of 
high  intelligence,  of  all  lands,  of  all  positions  ennobled  by  gen 
ius,  of  every  science,  art,  or  walk  in  literature,  or  in  public  life 
distinguished  for  talent,  or  deserving  in  her  opinion  to  attain  any 
distinction  in  it ,  and  there  were  to  be  found  among  them  like 
wise  persons  who  had  no  pretensions  to  intellectual  gifts,  or  re 
markable  abilities  of  any  kind,  but  who  possessed  amiable  qual- 
iticT,  honorable  principles  and  kindly  feelings,  bookish  people 


318  PRELIMINARY  NOTICE  OF 

not  pedantic,  amateurs  of  art  without  the  airs  of  dilettanti,  trav 
elers  more  at  home  in  a  desert  than  a  drawing-room,  who  had 
seen  outlandish  places,  and  could  be  drawn  out  a  little  on  the 
subject  of  their  peregrinations  on  rare  occasions. 

Among  the  correspondents  of  her  ladyship  we  find  princes 
and  princesses,  authors  and  authoresses  of  all  lands,  rich  and 
poor,  generals  and  critics,  poets  and  politicians,  publishers  and 
diplomatists,  play-actors,  novelists,  and  ministers  of  state,  lord 
chancellors  and  literary  ladies,  peers  of  the  realm,  nabobs  of  In 
dia,  natives  of  Hindostan,  hidalgos  of  Spain  of  "  thirteen  grand 
fathers,"  descendants  of  ancient  Irish  kings,  and  gentlemen,  in 
fine,  of  no  ancestors  at  all,  renowned  in  literature,  art,  or  science. 

The  lady  who  was  engaged  in  this  extensive  correspondence 
could  be  no  ordinary  person.  It  was  carried  on  for  a  long  series 
of  years  with  many  of  the  master-spirits,  not  only  of  England, 
but  of  the  world. 

The  qualities  of  rnind  and  of  disposition  of  this  gifted  lady, 
the  influence  of  that  goodness  of  heart  that  was  diffused  over 
every  act  and  word  of  hers,  the  fascination  of  her  manners,  and 
all  the  collateral  allurements  of  her  external  beauty,  could  sure 
ly  be  of  no  common  order,  that  could  procure  for  her  not  only 
the  admiration  and  esteem  of  passing  observation,  but  such  long- 
enduring  friendship  and  affectionate  regard  as  we  see,  by  this 
correspondence,  she  enjoyed  to  the  close  of  life  at  the  hands  of 
many  of  the  most  eminent  persons  of  our  age. 

There  arc  many  difficulties  of  an  editorial  kind  to  be  dealt 
with  in  the  present  undertaking ;  and  one  of  the  most  serious 
that  presented  itself  was  that  of  the  arrangement  of  the  corre 
spondence. 

The  natural  and  usual  course  would  be  to  introduce  the  let 
ters  generally  in  the  order  of  their  dates,  and  not  those  of  each 
correspondent  consecutively  There  was,  however,  a  disadvant 
age  in  such  a  course  as  this  to  be  considered,  and  a  very  great 
difficulty  to  be  surmounted. 

Lady  Blessington's  intercourse  with  eminent  persons  distin 
guished  in  literature,  art,  .science,  and  politics,  and  her  literary 
career,  had  three  phases  :  one  of  these  was  included  in  the  pe- 


THE  CORRESPONDENCE  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.      319 

riod  between  her  marriage  and  her  departure  for  the  Continent 
—  her  early  London  life  from  1818  to  1822  ;  another  was  the 
period  of  her  Continental  tour  and  sojourn  chiefly  in  Naples — 
her  Italian  life  from  1823  to  1829  ;  and,  lastly,  that  which  in 
cludes  the  period  between  her  return  to  England,  her  residence 
in  Seamore  Place,  and  the  break-up  of  her  establishment  at 
Gore  House,  from  the  end  of  1831  to  the  spring  of  1849,  a  few 
weeks  before  her  decease  in  Paris — the  period  of  her  second  Lon 
don  career  of  nearly  nineteen  years. 

Each  of  these  phases  in  the  life  of  Lady  Blessington  was  dis 
tinct  from  the  other,  in  the  composition  of  the  society  in  which 
she  moved,  in  the  development  of  literary  tastes,  the  progress 
of  intellectual  culture,  the  nature  of  her  literary  pursuits,  at  one 
time  engaged  in  solely  on  account  of  the  delight  taken  in  them, 
at  another  for  sake  of  distinction,  and  finally  with  a  view  to 
gain. 

Her  correspondence  partook  of  the  nature  of  those  differences 
and  distinctions,  and  the  value  of  it  seemed  to  consist,  to  a  great 
extent,  in  that  distinct  individualism  which  belonged  to  the  let 
ters,  and  the  style  and  subjects  of  them  in  such  numerous  in 
stances,  that  to  separate  and  scatter  the  several  letters  of  each 
writer  over  different  portions  of  the  work  would  have  been  to 
break  up  the  interest  taken  in  the  several  subjects,  and  the  con 
nection  between  matters  frequently  referred  to  in  the  letters  of 
the  same  writers. 

The  difficulty  above  referred  to,  in  the  way  of  arrangement 
according  to  dates,  was,  in  fact,  insuperable.  Literary  men  and 
artists  are  singularly  prone  to  forgetfulness  in  regard  to  dates 
and  addresses  in  their  correspondence.  A  vast  number  of  the 
letters  addressed  to  Lady  Blessington  are  without  date  or  place 
of  residence  ;  a  great  many  have  the  date  of  the  week  specified 
but  not  of  the  month,  and  where  both  are  to  be  found  the  year 
is  seldom  mentioned.  In  many  cases  the  dates  are  determined 
by  the  post-marks,  but  in  many  more,  where  the  letters  have 
been  written  prior  to  the  general  use  of  envelopes,  there  is  no 
clew  whatever  to  the  date,  and  the  period  can  only  be  approx 
imately  arrived  at  by  knowledge,  of  the  place  where  Lady  Bless- 


320  PRELIMINARY  NOTICE  OF 

ington  was  residing  at  the  time  such  letters  were  received  by 
her,  or  derived  from  matters  referred  to  in  them. 

For  the  above-mentioned  reasons,  and  some  others  which  may 
readily  suggest  themselves  to  the  reader,  I  have,  as  a  general 
rule,  inserted  the  letters  of  the  different  correspondents  consec 
utively,  as  they  appear  to  have  been  addressed  by  Lady  Bless- 
in  gton. 

In  the  notices  prefixed  to  the  letters,  I  have  endeavored  to 
brino-  before  the  readers  of  these  volumes  the  correspondents 
and  friends  of  Lady  Blessington,  and  the  acquaintances  espe 
cially  of  her  ladyship  during  her  sojourn  in  Naples  and  K^ome, 
in  a  way  to  make  them  recognizable,  and  to  recall  the  particular 
traits  of  character  which  belonged  to  them.* 

In  the  letters  of  Lady  Blessington,  it  will  be  in  vain  to  seek 
for  those  excellencies  in  the  art  of  epistolary  correspondence, 
graces  of  style  and  composition,  vivacity,  esprit,  and  epigram 
matic  power  of  expression  which  arc  to  be  found  in  the  corre 
spondence  of  Madame  de  Sevigne,  and  more  or  less  in  that  of  the 
Marquise  du  Deffand,  Madame  Geoffrin,  our  own  Lady  Mary 
"Wortley  Montague,  or  Madame  D'Arblay. 

But,  in  one  respect,  the  letters  of  Lady  Blessington  were  not 
inferior  to  those  of  any  of  the  above-mentioned  letter-writing 
celebrities,  namely,  the  manifestation  in  her  letters  of  kindly 
feelings,  as  ardently  expressed,  as  generously  and  unselfishly 
entertained.  The  best  actions  of  mankind  arc  the  worst  recorded 
facts  of  history  and  biography.  Of  the  many  generous  acts  of 
Lady  Blessington,  we  find  few  records  in  her  correspondence, 
but  we  shall  iind  in  her  letters  evidences  enough  (undesignedly 
furnished  by  her)  of  that  natural  and  unaffected  goodness  of 
heart,  which  manifested  itself  in  an  affectionate  interest  in  Lhe 
welfare  of  her  friends,  an  enduring,  unselfish  regard,  that  was 
never  influenced  by  any  change  in  their  position  or  accident  of 

*  The  want  of  a  slight  thread  of  descriptive  illustration  of  the  position,  charac 
ter,  or  peculiarities  of  persons  whose  correspondence  is  introduced  into  the  biog 
raphies  of  well-known  persons  has  been  often  felt  and  complained  of.  A  brief 
notice  of  tVic  principal  productions  or  characteristics,  traits  of  originality  or  re 
markable  qualities  of  many  of  those  whose  letters  form  a  part  of  this  correspond 
ence,  will  be  found  prefixed  to  the  letters  of  several  of  the  writers. 


THE  CORRESPONDENCE  OF  LADY  BLESSINGTON.      32] 

fortune.  It  mattered  not  to  her  an  iota,  in  her  estimation  of 
their  worth  and  merits,  however  altered  for  the  worse  might  be 
the  condition  of  friends  she  had  known  long  and  well,  however 
depressed  by  adverse  circumstances,  and  fallen  on  that  account 
in  the  opinion  of  the  world,  they  were  never  forsaken  by  her — 
the  feelings  of  Lady  Blessington  toward  them  were  unaffected 
by  any  change  in  their  fortunes.  There  was  no  "  feigning  of 
generosity"  in  the  uniform  kindness  of  this  steadfast  friendship 
— the  same  in  adversity  as  in  prosperity — no  affectation  of  benev 
olence  in  this  manifestation  of  genial  feelings — these  were  part 
and  parcel  of  a  noble  disposition  naturally  turned  to  goodness. 

It  has  been  truly  observed  that,  "  in  addressing  even  a  com 
mon  acquaintance  (in  a  letter),  there  is  a  kindlier  feeling,  a  cour 
tesy,  which  tends  to  endear  and  to  familiarize  ;  but  in  address 
ing  a  friend,  there  is  evidence  that  one  never  loves  one's  friends 
half  so  well  as  when  writing  to  them  !  Every  act  of  kindness, 
every  amiable  quality,  rushes  on  the  memory  and  the  imagina 
tion,  softened  by  the  real  absence,  and  heightened  by  an  ideal 
presence. 

"  This  constant  sense  of  the  presence  of  her  correspondent  is  the 
greatest  charm  of  that  queen  of  letter-writers,  Madame  de  Sevigne. 
AYe  feel  throughout  that  every  thought,  every  word,  is  addressed 
to  one  individual,  and  to  one  only — the  daughter,  the  idolized 
daughter,  who  filled  that  warm  heart."* 

Lady  Blessington  did  not  write  to  her  friends  for  effect — she 
reserved  that  object  for  her  conversation.  She  sat  down  in  her 
dressing-room  to  talk  on  paper  naturally  and  familiarly  with 
good-natured  familiar  friends,  as  if  it  was  a  relief  to  her  to  give 
expression  unreservedly  to  thoughts  en  deshabille,  and  to  feelings 
for  which  no  domino  of  affectation  was  required.  She  wrote  to 
those  friends  carelessly  and  affectionately,  as  if  she  felt  that 
every  trine  would  interest,  every  slight  allusion  would  be  under 
stood,  every  sprightly  fancy  would  amuse,  every  word  of  kind 
ness  would  be  appreciated,  and  every  expression  of  pain  or 
sorrow,  or  reference  to  her  own  cares  or  anxieties,  would  meet 
with  sympathy. 

*  New  Monthly  Magazine,  vol.  ii.,  1821,  p.  143. 
0  2 


322  *SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 

No  attempt  at  fine  writing  is  to  be  met  with  in  the  letters  of 
Lady  Blessington.  There  was  too  much  heart  in  her  epistolary 
correspondence,  and  too  little  disposition  to  enter  into  discussions 
in  letters  to  her  friends  on  any  topics  but  those  which  related 
to  her  own  immediate  affairs,  and  which  concerned  the  interests 
or  happiness  of  others,  to  give  a  literary  character  to  her  corre 
spondence  in  general  that  would  interest  the  public  in  it. 

For  this  reason,  out  of  a  vast  number  of  the  letters,  or  rather 
notes  of  Lady  Blessington,  none  have  been  selected  for  publica 
tion  except  those  which  came  within  the  limits  of  the  last-named 
category.  The  number  of  her  ladyship's  letters  is  not  large,  but 
the  few  that  are  presented  to  the  public  will  be  found  to  give  a 
favorable  opinion  of  the  writer's  sound  common  sense,  clear  con 
ception,  kindly  feelings,  and  amiable  disposition. 

I  have  rejected  a  vast  number  of  letters  of  mere  compliment 
on  ordinary  subjects  of  correspondence  between  friends,  inquiries 
after  health,  references  to  private  matters,  intimations  of  intend 
ed  visits,  and  apologies  for  long  silence,  non-appearance  at  par 
ties,  &c. 

Sir  William  Jones,  in  one  of  his  lectures,  said,  "  For  what  I 
have  produced  I  claim  only  your  indulgence  :  it  is  for  what  T 
have  suppressed  that  I  am  entitled  to  your  thanks." 


CHAPTEIl  XV. 

SIR     WILLIAM     GELL. 

THE  name  of  Gell  will  recall  to  many  minds  very  pleasing 
reminiscences  of  Rome  and  Naples — his  small  classic  house  at 
Rome,  fitted  for  a  scholar's  home,  that  might  have  served  for 
the  abode  of  Petrarch,  with  its  adornments  far  from  costly,  but 
its  arrangements  elaborately  tasteful,  with  its  pleasant  gardens 
and  trellised  walks  ;  his  place  of  residence,  too,  at  Naples  in  the 
latter  years  of  his  life — its  picturesque  locality,  his  drawing- 
room,  library,  studio,  museum,  all  combined  in  one  very  rnod- 
erately-sized  apartment,  with  such  a  store  of  rarities,  old  folios 
in  vellurn,  modern  topography,  and  illustrated  travels  richly 


SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  323 

bound,  caricatures,  charts,  maps,  and  drawings ;  the  light  guitar, 
which  he  had  recourse  to  so  often,  in  moments  of  torture,  and 
for  whose  sweet  remedial  influences  he  had  "thrown  physic  to 
the  dogs" — not,  however,  to  the  well-bred  animals  of  the  canine 
species  who  had  the  entree  of  his  salon,  and  the  privilege  of  his 
best  chairs  and  sofas — so  many  models,  too,  of  ancient  structures, 
so  many  curious  things  in  so  small  a  space, 

"  that  still  folks  wondered  Gell 
Had  one  small  room  could  hold  so  much  so  well." 

In  1814,  when  her  royal  highness,  the  Princess  of  Wales,  left 
England,  and  proceeded  to  Milan,  via  Brunswick,  her  establish 
ment  consisted  of  Lady  Charlotte  Lindsay  and  Lady  Elizabeth 
Forbes,  maids  of  honor  ;  Mr.  St.  Leger,  Sir  William  Gell,  and 
the  Honorable  Keppel  Craven,  chamberlains  ;  Captain  Hesse, 
equerry,  and  Dr.  Holland,  physician.  Mr.  St.  Leger  remained 
at  Brunswick.  Shortly  after  her  royal  higness's  arrival  in  Mi 
lan,  Bartholomew  Bergami  was  taken  into  her  service  as  cou 
rier  and  valet.  The  princess  and  her  suite  set  out  for  Rome  and 
Naples  the  latter  end  of  October,  and  arrived  in  the  latter  city 
on  the  8th  of  November,  1814.  King  Joachim  Murat  was  then 
sovereign  of  Naples.  Her  royal  highness  gave  a  fancy  ball  to 
his  Neapolitan  majesty,  in  which  she  appeared  in  three  charac 
ters  ;  first  as  a  Neapolitan  peasant,  secondly  as  "  The  Genius 
of  History,"  and  thirdly  as  a  Turkish  peasant,  in  costumes  by 
no  means  cumbersome,  though  not  quite  in  accordance  with  the 
notions  of  some  persons  of  her  English  suite.  The  princess  re 
mained  in  Naples  till  March,  1815.  She  then  took  her  depart 
ure  for  Rome,  Genoa,  and  Milan,  leaving  four  of  her  suite,  Lady 
E.  Forbes,  Sir  W.  Gell,  Mr.  Craven,  and  Captain  Hesse,  in  Naples. 
Lady  Charlotte  Lindsay  had  previously  left  her  royal  highness 
at  Leghorn.  At  Genoa  she  was  joined  by  Lady  Charlotte  Camp 
bell,  who  remained  with  her  only  two  or  three  months.  After 
her  return  from  Palestine,  Sir  William  Gell  accompanied  her 
from  Naples  to  Rome,  and  continued  with  her  there  in  attend 
ance  upon  her  as  chamberlain  while  she  remained  in  Rome. 

The  following  year  he  was  again  about  three  months  in  at 
tendance  on  hor  at  Fvaseati  and  RufinelM ;  and  again,  on  the 


324  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 

occasion  of  her  last  visit  to  Rome,  he  attended  her  for  some 
days. 

In  his  evidence  on  the  trial  before  the  House  of  Lords,  Sir 
"William  swore  that  it  was  on  account  of  an  attack  of  gout  he 
had  quitted  her  royal  highness's  service;  and,  "notwithstand 
ing  the  opportunities  he  had  of  observing  the  conduct  of  the 
queen  and  Bergami  toward  each  other,  never  saw  any  impro 
priety  pass  between  them  upon  any  occasion." 

Nevertheless,  the  opinion  of  Sir  William  of  his  royal  mis 
tress's  habits,  modes,  and  manners  was  not  more  favorable  than 
those  of  Lord  Malmesbury,  of  which  he  has  left  a  curious  rec 
ord  in  his  diary. 

In  1815  and  1816,  we  find  Gell,  in  his  letters,  under  various 
signatures  —  "Blue  Beard,"  "Adonis,"  " Anacharsis,"  "Gellius 
(Aulus),"  and  while  still  retaining  the  title,  and  occasionally  fill 
ing  the  office,  of  chamberlain  to  the  Princess  of  Wales,  indulg 
ing  in  his  sarcastic  propensities — playing  the  part  of  a  male  gos 
sip,  conveying  little  bits  of  scandal  in  humorous  passages,  and 
making  fun  of  his  royal  mistress  for  the  sport  of  the  fair  Philis 
tines  who  had  once  been  maids  of  honor  and  friends  of  her  roy 
al  highness. 

But  even  at  that  time  Sir  William  was  a  martyr  to  gout  and 
rheumatism.  In  December,  1816,  he  wrote  from  Bologna  that 
he  was  then  reduced  to  the  necessity  of  confining  himself  to  his 
fireside  ;  but,  in  giving  the  account  of  his  ailments,  he  could  not 
help  having  a  fling  at  his  royal  lady's  orthography : 

"  To  a  person  of  my  romantic  disposition,  rcduit  by  di  dizctte 
of  legs  and  now  of  arms  to  the  fireside,  it  is  a  great  comfort  to 
have  escaped  from  the  land  of  wine,  houses,  and  carts,  and 
wooden  shoes,  arid  neckless  children  (France),  and  to  find  one's 
self  once  more  in  Italy,  and  to  be  able  io  leave  rny  painful  leg 
or  arm  for  a  moment  out  of  bed  without  finding  it  frostbitten."* 

Sir  W.  (Jell  and  the  Honorable  Keppel  Craven  are  mentioned 
in  Moore's  diary  of  August,  1820,  as  being  "on  the  way  from 
Naples  to  England  as  witnesses  for  the  queen."  "Gell  still  a 
coxcomb,  but  rather  amusing — said  the  Constitution  of  Naples 

*  Diarv  and  Times  of  George  the  Fourth,  vol.  iv.,  p.  12!). 


SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  335 

came  in  a  gig  (corricolo) — told  some  ludicrous  things  about  the 
Duchess  of  Devonshire's  sway  at  Rome  :  her  passion  for  Gon- 
salvo,  her  admiration  for  the  purity  of  the  Roman  government." 
(Memoirs,  vol.  iii.,  p.  137.)  Moore's  compendious  opinion  of  Gell 
as  "  a  coxcomb,  rather  amusing"  if  relied  on,  would  give  not  only 
a  very  unfavorable,  but  a  very  incorrect  notion  of  his  character 
and  his  acquirements.  He  was  a  man  of  much  erudition  and 
artistic  talents,  and  of  great  humor.  Sir  William  Gell's  literary 
tastes  were  chiefly  devoted  to  antiquarian  researches. 

For  the  last  twenty  years,  Naples  was  his  head-quarters. 
There  he  was  universally  known  and  respected,  and  terminated 
his  earthly  career. 

Sir  William  Gell  was  a  man  of  very  amiable  character,  ex 
tremely  amusing  and  lively,  fond  of  the  society  of  young  people, 
with  much  singularity  of  mind,  and  originality  of  character, 
manners,  and  ideas. 

His  indolent  easiness  of  temper  had  something  in  it  of  a  phil 
osophical  calmness  of  an  Epicurean  character.  The  common 
objects  of  men's  ambition  to  him  were  not  worth  the  trouble 
of  the  pursuit.  He  was  at  once  indifferent,  apathetic,  and  un- 
impassioned  in  the  society  of  men  struggling  for  wealth,  glory, 
or  exalted  dignities.  He  smiled  serenely  at  the  inordinate 
trouble  they  gave  themselves,  at  all  their  great  cares  for  little 
ends,  at  all  the  great  weaknesses  of  little  men  of  large  desires. 
And  yet  this  pococurante  gentleman  had  many  difficulties  to  en 
counter  to  secure  for  himself  "  les  douceurs  d'une  vie  privee 
et  oisive,"  and  many  little  harmless  vanities  and  weaknesses 
of  his  own  to  make  him  singular  and  eccentric,  of  which,  how 
ever,  he  was  entirely  unconscious. 

All  his  tastes  were  of  a  literary  and  artistic  turn,  and  all  were 
of  a  refined,  scholar-like,  and  some  of  them  rather  of  a  Sybaritic 
kind.  Like  Sir  William  Temple,  "he  loved  painting,  and  mu 
sic,  and  statuary,  and  gardening,"  and  embellishing  buildings. 
Health,  and  ease,  and  fine  weather  were  the  constituents  of  his 
happiness:  Temple  wrote,  "Le  seul  homme  que  j'envie  dans 
le  monde  c'est  Milord  Falconbridge,  que  son  embassade  va  con- 
duire  dans  un  si  beau  climat,  ou  il  va  goutcr  tous  les  charmes 


326  SIR  WILLIAM  CELL. 

attaches  aux  delicates  et  spirituelles  conversations  d'ltalie.  II 
trouvera  les  jours  et  les  esprits  egalemens  purs  et  brillants." 

Though  a  martyr  to  gout,  Sir  "William  Gell's  natural  gayety 
and  good  humor  were  little  affected  by  his  natural  sufferings  ; 
and  with  the  most  profound  knowledge  and  information  he  com 
bined  the  utmost  simplicity  and  playfulness. 

Some  of  his  topographical  books  were  illustrated  by  himself, 
as,  for  instance,  his  Pompeii,  Greece,  and  other  descriptive  pro 
ductions  of  an  antiquarian  kind — works  acknowledged  to  be  the 
best  of  their  several  sorts  and  classes. 

In  June,  1834,  referring  to  a  conversation  at  Lady  Blessing- 
ton's,  Willis,  in  his  "Pencilings  by  the  Way,"  3d  edition,  Lon 
don,  1849,  refers  to  some  valuable  notices  of  Sir  William  Gcll, 
illustrative  of  an  interesting  portion  of  the  latter  part  of  Sir 
Walter  Scott's  career  : 

"She  (Lady  B.)  had  received  from  Sir  William  Of  ell,  at  Na 
ples,  the  manuscript  of  a  volume  upon  the  last  days  of  Sir  Wal 
ter  Scott.  It  was  a  melancholy  chronicle  of  weakened  intellect 
and  ruined  health,  and  the  book  was  suppressed  ;  but  there  were 
two  or  three  circumstances  narrated  in  its  pages  which  were 
interesting.  Soon  after  his  arrival  at  Naples,  Sir  AY  alter  went 
with  his  physician  and  one  or  two  friends  to  the  great  museum. 
It  happened  that  on  the  same  day  a  large  collection  of  students 
and  Italian  literati  were  assembled  in  one  of  the  rooms  to  dis 
cuss  some  newly-discovered  manuscripts.  It  was  soon  known 
that  the  '  Wizard  of  the  North'  was  there,  and  a  deputation  was 
sent  immediately  to  request  him  to  honor  them  by  presiding  at 
their  session.  At  this  time  Scott  was  a  wreck,  with  a  memory 
that  retained  nothing  for  a  moment,  and  limbs  almost  as  help 
less  as  an  infant's.  He  was  dragging  about  among  the  relics 
of  Pompeii,  taking  no  interest  in  any  thing  lie  saw,  when  their 
request  was  made  known  to  him  through  his  physician.  '  No, 
no,'  said  he,  '  I  know  nothing  of  their  lingo.  Tell  them  I  am 
not  well  enough  to  come.'  He  loitered  on,  and  in  about  half  an 
hour  after  he  turned  to  Dr.  II.  arid  said,  'Who  was  that  you  said 
wanted  to  see  me  ?'  The  doctor  explained.  '  I'll  go,'  said  he  ; 
'they  shall  see  mo,  if  they  wish  it;'  and,  against  the  advice  of 


SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  327 

his  friends,  who  feared  it  would  be  too  much  for  his  strength,  he 
mounted  the  staircase,  and  made  his  appearance  at  the  door. 
A  burst  of  enthusiastic  cheers  welcomed  him  on  the  threshold  ; 
and  forming  in  two  lines,  many  of  them  on  their  knees,  they 
seized  his  hands  as  he  passed,  kissed  them,  thanked  him  in 
their  passionate  language  for  the  delight  with  which  he  had  fill 
ed  the  world,  and  placed  him  in  the  chair  with  the  most  fervent 
expressions  of  gratitude  for  his  condescension.  The  discussion 
went  on  ,  but,  not  understanding  a  syllable  of  their  language, 
Scott  was  soon  wearied,  and  his  friends,  observing  it,  pleaded 
the  state  of  his  health  as  an  apology,  and  he  rose  to  take  his 
leave.  These  enthusiastic  children  of  the  South  crowded  once 
more  around  him,  and,  with  exclamations  of  affection  and  even 
tears,  kissed  his  hands  once  more,  assisted  his  tottering  steps, 
and  sent  after  him  a  confused  murmur  of  blessings  as  the  door 
closed  on  his  retiring  form." 

The  scene  is  described  by  Sir  W.  Gell  as  one  of  the  most 
affecting  he  had  ever  witnessed 

His  career  of  authorship  commenced  so  early  as  1804,  when 
he  published  "  The  Topography  of  Troy,"  folio.  Subsequently 
appeared  "The  Geography  and  Antiquities  of  Ithaca,"  4to,  1808, 
"The  Itinerary  of  Greece" — "Travels  in  the  Morea" — "The 
Topography  of  Rome" — and,  finally,  his  "Pompeiana,"  the  most 
interesting  and  extensively  known  of  all  his  works. 

Sir  William  resided  in  Italy  since  1820 ;  occasionally  at  Rome, 
but  chiefly  at  his  beautifully  situated  and  elegantly  arranged 
villa  in  Naples,  in  the  society  of  his  erudite  friend,  Sir  William 
Drummond,  and  that  of  his  old  friend  and  amiable  companion, 
the  Hon.  Keppel  Craven.  After  the  death  of  Sir  William  Drum 
mond  at  Ilome  in  1828,  his  friendship  with  Craven  appeared 
to  have  become  more  closely  cemented  than  ever,  and  it  went 
on  increasing  in  strength  to  the  period  of  his  death. 

Gell's  notions  of  authorship  were  of  a  very  aristocratic  nature. 
All  his  works  were  brought  out  on  so  large  and  extensive  a  scale 
as  to  be  out  of  the  reach  of  that  class  of  readers  for  whom  his 
topographical  and  antiquarian  researches  would  have  been  espe 
cially  useful — for  travelers  in  those  countries  whose  remains 


328  SIR  WILLIAM  CELL. 

were  described  by  him.  But  it  was  the  misfortune  of  this  en 
lightened  and  accomplished  man  to  be  an  aristocrat  in  all  things, 
and  to  mar  his  attainments  by  hankering  after  great  people — 
"patricians  born  to  greatness,"  or  parvenus  having  "greatness 
thrust  upon  them" — thrust  on  "  good  society,"  and  admitted 
there  par  droit  de  richesses  ou  lieu  do  naissance. 

Sir  William  Gell,  it  must  be  admitted,  frittered  away  his  time 
and  talents  for  upward  of  twenty  years  on  the  fashionable  frib 
bles  of  the  little  coteries  of  English  traveling  aristocracy  that 
customarily  wintered  in  Rome,  and  passed  the  spring  or  autumn 
in  Naples  or  its  vicinity 

Every  one  delighted  in  his  society  ;  in  his  conversation  and 
correspondence  he  was  equally  amusing  and  agreeable. 

"When.  Sir  William  Gell  died,  Lady  Blessington  might  have 
truly  said,  "  J'ai  perdu  en  lui  mon  rneilleur  causeur." 

There  is  an  admirable  sketch  of  Gell  in  a  letter  of  James 
Ramsay,  Esq.,  a  resident  merchant  of  Naples,  an  old  and  valued 
friend  of  mine,  addressed  to  the  Hon.  Richard  Kcppel  Craven  in 
the  spring  of  1836,  soon  after  the  death  of  Sir  William  Gell,  urg 
ing  011  Mr.  Craven  the  task  of  composing  a  biographical  sketch 
of  his  deceased  friend,  and  eventually  signifying  his  intention 
of  writing  such  a  memoir  : 

"  I  frequently  urged,"  says  Mr.  Ramsay,  "  our  inestimable 
friend  to  compose  his  biographical  memoirs  ;  to  bequeath  to 
posterity  the  'personal  narrative'  of  a  career  in  which  the  pur 
suits  of  science  were  so  happily  blended  with  the  lighter  occu 
pations  and  brilliant  attractions  [distractions]  of  society.  1  said 
it  would  be  a  great  pity  if  the  rich  fund  of  observation  and  anec 
dote  which  he  had  accumulated  should  be  lost  with  him,  and 
that  it  might  be  screened  from  public  view  until  the  writer 
should  be  '  removed  beyond  the  reach  of  criticism  or  of  ridicule.' 
He  sometimes  appeared  to  be  half  inclined  to  adopt  my  sugges 
tion,  and  owned  that  he  possessed  materials  sufficiently  '  piquant,' 
if  he  should  determine  to  employ  them.  Will  you  forgive  me 
for  insinuating  that  the  task  which  he  failed,  or  rather  neglected 
to  accomplish,  seems  naturally  and  gracefully,  when  time  shall 
have  in  some  degree  moderated  the  more  poignant  emotions  of 


SIR  WILLIAM  GELL  329 

regret,  to  devolve  upon  you  ?  upon  you,  his  juvenile  companion, 
the  friend  and  fellow-traveler  of  raaturer  years,  the  depositary 
of  his  inmost  sentiments,  and  probably  of  many  of  a  series  of 
letters  in  which  events  and  opinions  have  been  faithfully  re 
corded. 

"  Though  enjoying  Sir  William's  acquaintance  and  intimacy 
during  a  considerable  period,  I  can  not  presume  to  hope  that  I 
could  furnish  any  important  contributions  toward  such  an  under 
taking,  otherwise  I  should  be  most  ready  to  co-operate  with  those 
who  are  so  much  better  qualified.  His  correspondents  would, 
I  dare  say,  willingly  communicate  his  letters,  or  extracts  from 
them,  and  the  names  of  these  correspondents  are  doubtless  known 
to  you. 

"  There  is  a  peculiar  charm  in  the  unguarded  effusions  of  emi 
nent  persons,  when,  casting  off  the  artificial  garb  with  which 
rank  or  other  adventitious  circumstances  may  have  invested 
them,  they  paint  their  natural  character  and  feelings  without 
any  other  reserve  or  restraint  than  those  which  discretion  pre 
scribes. 

'•  Hume  and  Gibbon  have  left  us  interesting,  though  very  dif 
ferent  memorials  of  this  description,  and  the  familiar  letters  of 
Munro,  of  Collingwood,  of  Mackintosh,  and  of  such  as  resemble 
them,  will  be  fondly  cherished  when  their  public  achievements 
are  perused  with  historical  indifference.  But  I  beg  pardon  for 
detaining  you  with  remarks  so  obvious. 

"  If,  on  the  one  hand,  it  is  to  be  regretted  that  Sir  William 
did  not  finish  his  novel  of  'Julia  di  Gonzaga,'  it  may,  on  the 
other,  be  permitted  to  doubt  whether  or  how  far  such  a  work 
would  have  added  to  his  literary  fame.  Of  his  powers  of  imagi 
nation  and  invention  I  had  110  adequate  opportunity  of  judging; 
but,  though  the  novel  might  have  contained  some  lively  scenes, 
some  striking  descriptions,  some  sparkling  dialogue,  I  should  be 
inclined  to  question — yet  by  no  means  conclusively — whether  a 
profound  knowledge  of  the  human  heart,  of  the  intricate  mazes 
arid  complicated  workings  of  passion,  and  feeling,  and  sentiment, 
were  among  his  distinguishing  attributes. 

"He  had  not  made  a  study  of  composition,  and,  in  the  confu- 


330  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 

sion  of  foreign  languages,  the  purity  of  his  own  had  still  become 
considerably  impaired.  These  observations,  dictated  by  an  af 
fectionate  and  jealous  attachment  to  his  memory,  are  hazarded 
with  diffidence,  as  they  are  with  deference  submitted  to  your 
taste  and  judgment. 

"  I  am  aware  that  the  scope  of  the  memoir  would  be  chiefly 
limited  to  private  circulation  ;  and  at  a  time  when  the  novel 
and  the  romance  usurp,  if  not  the  honors,  at  least  the  emoluments 
of  literature,  the  noble-minded  author  would  seek  and  find  his 
reward  in  another  disinterested  offering  on  the  altar  of  friend 
ship.  I  am,  &c.  J.  R." 

A    SKETCH    OF    THE    CHARACTER    OF    SIR    WILLIAM    GELL,    F,Y 
JAMES    RAMSAY,    ESQ. 

"The  merits  of  Sir  William  Gell  as  an  author,  chiefly  011  sub 
jects  of  anti cjuity  and  topography,  are  already  sufficiently  known 
and  appreciated  by  the  public.  The  fruits  of  much  patient 
research,  of  ingenious  conjecture,  of  great  personal  activity  and 
industry,  with  admirable  graphic  illustrations,  his  works  are 
valuable  helps  to  the  student,  and  an  accurate  guide  for  the 
traveler.  In  attempting  the  more  difficult  task  of  delineating 
his  general  and  private  character,  as  deduced  from  an  inter 
course  of  many  years,  if  I  am  conscious  of  any  bias,  it  must  be 
in  favor  of  one  writh  whom  I  have  spent  so  many  delightful 
hours,  unalloyed  by  the  recollection  of  even  a  passing  cloud  ; 
for  to  me  he  was  uniformly  kind  and  attentive.  Yet  I  will 
endeavor  to  be  impartial,  though  at  the  hazard  of  incurring  the 
reproach  of  being  rather  severe. 

"  Sir  William  started  in  life  with  the  advantages  of  a  hand 
some  person — of  a  fine,  open,  placid  countenance — of  a  prepos 
sessing  manner — of  a  remote  ancestry,  and  of  an  extensive  con 
nection  with  the  best  society,  lie  traveled  at  a  period  when 
travelers  were  rare,  and  thus  early  acquired  a  distinction  which 
he  continued  to  maintain.  Possessing  general,  though  superfi 
cial  information,  both  literary  and  scientific,  including  some  ac 
quaintance  with  the  Oriental  languages  and  hieroglyphics,  he 
sketched  beautifully,  had  a  taste  for  and  some  knowledge  of  mu- 


SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  33^ 

sic,  and  excelled  as  an  easy,  off-hand,  unaffected  correspondent ; 
indifferent,  indeed  insensible,  to  the  graces  of  composition,  yet 
universally  courted  for  a  style  of  naivete  '  beyond  the  reach  of  art.' 
Although,  however,  led  by  the  course  of  his  studies  into  classical 
inquiry  and  reference,  the  character  of  a  profound  scholar  will  not 
be  assigned  to  him,  notwithstanding  his  general  reading ;  he  had 
little  taste  for  literature,  and  never  seemed  to  feel  the  beauties  of 
poetry.  I  should  say,  indeed,  that,  in  other  respects,  his  taste — 
meaning  by  this  term  a  delicate  and  just  perception  of  the  beau 
tiful — was  far  from  being  refined,  and  that  that  defect  was  ap 
parent  in  all,  even  his  personal  decorations,  by  a  preference  for 
gay,  gaudy  colors,  striking  contrasts,  and  meretricious  ornament. 

"  To  depth  of  thought  Sir  William  would  have  no  just  pre 
tensions.  He  rarely  made  a  general  reflection  or  observation; 
all  his  conclusions  were  particular.  On  many  of  the  important 
questions  by  which  the  world  is  now  agitated,  he  had  no  steady, 
fixed  opinions  ;  he  had  neither  the  boldness  to  form,  nor  the 
courage  to  avow  his  sentiments,  which  were  very  liable  to  be 
temporarily  influenced  by  the  last  speaker,  the  last  writer. 

"  In  his  political  principles  he  was  decidedly  aristocratical, 
with  a  strong  predilection  for  '  rank,  fortune,  and  fashion,'  our 
besetting  sin ! 

"  But  it  is  in  a  companionable,  sociable  point  of  view  that  the 
memory  of  Sir  "William  Gell  will  be  most  fondly  cherished,  his 
loss  most  deeply  lamented  by  his  surviving  friends  and  acquaint 
ances  ;  for  there  he  shone  without  a  rival,  with  a  charm  pecul 
iarly  his  own.  To  a  considerable  share  of  wit  and  humor — to 
a  natural  tact  and  penetration,  improved  by  a  long  intercourse 
with  the  great  world,  to  the  habits  and  bearing  of  a  '  high-bred 
gentleman,'  Sir  William  added  an  unceasing  flow  of  lively,  play 
ful  language,  sparkling  dialogue,  and  brilliant  repartee  upon  ev 
ery  topic  which  formed  the  subject  of  conversation,  and  this,  his 
great  forte  both  in  company  and  tete-a-tete,  was  endless.  Plac 
ing  people  of  all  classes  on  a  footing  of  easy  familiarity,  and  thus 
unlocking  their  confidence,  he  drew  from  them  a  perpetual  sup 
ply  of  materials  for  his  own  combination  — '  toujours  variees 
toujours  renaissantes' — his  house  became  the  resort  of  all  ranks, 


332  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL 

ages,  and  sexes,  and  his  mornings  one  continued  levee.  The 
equanimity  of  his  temper  under  the  pressure  of  bodily  infirmity, 
often  of  acute  suffering,  enhanced  the  value  of  a  cheerful,  hu 
mane,  benevolent,  charitable  disposition,  and  even  the  shafts  of 
sarcasm  and  of  ridicule,  in  which  he  occasionally  indulged,  left  no 
sting,  because  it  was  felt  that  they  were  the  offspring  of  no 
malignant  spirit.  "With  all  his  resources,  however,  Sir  William 
languished  in  solitude  ;  he  breathed  only  in  the  atmosphere  of 
society  ;  even  his  literary  and  other  occupations  were  sometimes 
carried  on  in  company,  while  conversing  with  those  around  him. 
"  He  was  fond  of  being  looked  up  to  as  a  patron  and  protector, 
and  somewhat  jealous  of  the  ascendency  which  he  thus  sought 
to  preserve. 

"It  has  been  said  that,  as  in  thinking,  so  in  feeling,  he  was  a 
stranger  to  any  great  depth  ;  and  certainly  he  seldom  betrayed 
much  emotion,  or  even  expressed  much  interest  in  the  fate  of 
others.  It  is  a  remark  of  his  friend,  Lady  Blessington,  in  one 
of  her  books,  that  '  persons  the  most  remarkable  for  general 
kindness  are  those  who  have  the  least  feeling.' 

"  Emulous  of  fame,  he  aspired  after  notoriety  and  display  ; 
and  the  latter  was  sometimes  evinced  by  introducing  subjects 
with  which  his  auditors  were  very  imperfectly  conversant,  in 
order,  as  it  seemed,  that  he  might  excite  their  surprise  and  com 
mand  their  applause. 

"  Tn  an  argument  he  was  easily  vanquished  ;  in  a  forward 
remark  as  easily  checked  ;  by  superior  powers  painfully  eclipsed. 
Sir  William  liked  to  be  the  presiding  genius.  In  his  acquaint 
ances,  visitors,  guests,  with  a  few  exceptions,  he  preferred  va 
riety,  novelty  ;  and  when  these  had  lost  the  power  of  pleasing, 
he  willingly  resigned  them,  '  like  the  last  month's  magazine,' 
for  others  more  attractive. 

"  Hence  he  was  deemed  by  some  people  rather  selfish,  not 
quite  sincere,  and  not  sufficiently  mindful  of  past  favors  ;  but 
in  endeavoring  to  exhibit  the  various  traits  of  a  distinguished 
character,  we  ought  always  to  bear  in  mind  that  they  include 
many  from  which  no  human  being  is  entirely  exempt. 

"  Amid  a  boundless  acquaintance,  it  may  be  questioned  wheth- 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  333 

er  Sir  William  Gell  had  many  really  and  truly  attached  friends  . 
his  affections  were  infinitely  subdivided,  frittered  away ;  but 
he  was  a  kind  and  indulgent  master. 

"  He  seemed  to  be  a  great  favorite  with  the  fair  sex.  They 
gathered — flocked  around  him ;  they  confided  in — they  confessed 
to — they  consulted  him  as  a  superior  being  !  Yet  all  the  youth, 
beauty,  grace,  accomplishments,  whose  homage  he  was  constant 
ly  receiving,  did  rarely,  in  my  hearing,  call  forth  an  admiring, 
never  one  enthusiastic,  one  impassioned  sentiment.  They  might 
be  *  well-looking,'  *  well-mannered,'  '  a  pleasing  person,'  that 
was  all.  I  often  asked  him  who  was  the  most  beautiful  woman 
he  remembered  to  have  met  with  ?  He  replied  that '  he  thought 
he  should  say  Lady  Blessington.'  Still,  his  behavior,  attentions 
to,  correspondence  with  ladies,  were  excellent,  polite,  and  kind. 
In  estimating  character,  we  judge,  partly  from  what  people  do 
and  say,  and,  which  frequently  escapes  them,  from  what  they  do 
not  do  and  say  ! 

"  In  these  peculiarities  and  other  foibles  we  have,  alas  !  only 
to  recognize  the  imperfections  from  which  none  are  free  ;  but 
the  verdict  of  an  immense  majority  will  decide  in  favor  of  the 
amiability,  the  charms  of  the  character  of  Sir  William  Gell,  and 
will  confess  he  has  left  a  blank  which  it  will  be  difficult,  if  pos 
sible,  to  supply." 

%*  There  are  several  busts  of  Sir  William  Gell,  but  none  of 
them  a  good  likeness.  With  the  exception  of  a  less  aquiline 
nose,  he  bore  a  strong  resemblance  to  the  statue,  said  to  be  of 
Aristides,  in  the  museum  of  Naples. 


CHAPTER  XVI. 

LETTERS    OF    SIR    WILLIAM    GELL    TO    LADY     BLESSINGTOX.* 

''  Naples. 

"  Mr  DEAR  LADY  BLESSINGTON, — A  most  horrid  affair  has  taken  place  a't 
Psestum,  Mr.  Hunt  and  his  wife  having  been  murdered  by  robbers.     Three 

*  The  Blessingtons  arrived  in  Naples  in  July,  1823.     They  established  them 
selves  at  the  Villa  Belvidere,  on  the  Vomero,  about  the  23d  of  the  same  month. 


334  LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  CELL. 

parties  were  at  Psestum — Mrs.  Benzon  and  daughter,  the  Hunts,  and  a  party 
of  officers  from  '  The  Revenge.'  Mrs.  Benzon  was  returning  to  Naples,  and 
about  two  miles  from  Paestum  met  four  robbers,  who  with  threats  demanded 
and  took  all  their  money.  They  seem  not  to  have  ill  treated  them  otherwise. 
Mrs.  Benzon  gave  the  alarm  at  Salerno,  and  sent  gens  d'armcs.  About  a 
quarter  of  an  hour  after  came  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hunt  by  the  same  place.  They 
tore  off  the  vetturino  and  the  servant  from  the  box,  and  were  ill  treating  the  ser 
vant  for  having  no  more  money  while  Mr.  Hunt  was  descending  from  the  car 
riage.  Mr.  Hunt  seems  to  have  remonstrated  in  violent  terms  at  this,  and  one 
of  the  thieves  said  he  would  shoot  him  if  he  continued.  Mr.  Hunt  seems  to 
have  continued,  and  to  have  said  he  dared  not  shoot  him  :  this  the  enraged 
thief  did  with  two  balls,  both  of  which  passed  through  his  body,  and  he  fell 
from  the  step.  One  of  the  balls  took  a  side  slant,  and  went  through  the  body 
and  lungs  of  Mrs.  Hunt  also.  The  thieves,  seeing  what  they  had  done,  im 
mediately  fled  without  any  booty.  The  husband  and  wife,  the  first  almost  in 
sensible,  were  carried  back  to  Prestum.  The  husband  died  at  half  past  seven 
o'clock  of  the  same  day.  The  act  took  place  about  one.  Mrs.  Hunt  was  car 
ried  to  Mr.  Belelli's,  a  decent  house,  and  seemed  for  some  time  better,  and  the 
officers,  sending  Mr.  Thompson  here  for  assistance,  remained  with  her.  Dr. 
Watson  went  last  night,  about  twelve  o'clock,  to  see  if  he  could  do  any  good. 
It  is  almost  certain  Mrs.  Hunt  can  not  live.  I  have  written  this  in  a  great 
hurry,  having  merely  had  time  to  give  you  an  outline,  but  a  correct  one,  of  the 
facts,  which  I  heard  from  Mr.  Thompson  himself.  I  have  sent  certain  docu 
ments  to  Lord  Blessington  about  Lady  Falkiner,  which  the  judge  wishes  you 
to  see,  because  he  says  you  arc  the  person  who  knows  most  about  the  busi 
ness.  With  kindest  regards  to  the  count  and  the  '  Lady  Julia,'*  believe  me 
most  truly  yours,  dear  Lady  Blessington,  W.  CELL. 

"VA  sua  Eccellcnza  la  Contessa  di  Blessington,  Villa  Bclvidcre,  Vomero." 

"  Naples. 

"  Do  your  excellencies  dine  at  home  to-day?  If  you  do,  I  purpose  an  as 
cent  to  the  Belvidere.  You  arc  in  danger  of  being  rivaled  with  the  arch- 
bishopt  by  Mrs.  Beaumont  and  her  three  daughters,  for  whom  he  has  con 
ceived  a  passion.  Most  truly  yours,  WILLIAM  GELL." 

"  Naples. 

"When  I  had  read  Lord  Byron,  which  I  found  very  interesting,  but  most 
particularly  the  revengeful  poem,  which  must  have  been  written  after  some 
conversation  with  you  about  his  wife,  I  found  myself  rather  forlorn  ;  but,  rec 
ollecting  my  charge  of  the  letters,  I  thought  for  some  time  what  I  should  do 

They  remained  there  till  March,  1825,  and  about  the  25th  of  the  latter  month  re 
moved  to  the  Villa  Gallo,  where  they  remained  till  February,  1826,  when  they 
left  Naples  for  Rome.— R.  R.  M. 

*  The  Lady  Julia  was  Lady  Blessington's  sister,  Miss  Mary  Anne  Power. — 
R-  R.  M.  f  The  venerable  Archbishop  of  Tarento.— R.  R.  M. 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  335 

with  them,  so  I  took  the  liberty  of  going  into  the  drawing-room,  and,  after 
some  consideration,  I  put  them  carefully  into  a  large  red  portfolio  on  the 
count's  table,  with  a  red  ribbon,  where  pray  go  and  take  them,  having  made 
my  apology  for  taking  such  a  liberty  with  him.  I  am  sorry  Miss  Power  is 
angry  with  me,  but  I  have  nothing  on  my  conscience.  No  Casorano  came. 
I  kiss  your  feet,  and  am  ever  yours,  W.  GELL." 

"  Naples. 

"  The  devil  has  upset  his  inkstand  in  the  clouds,  and  I  think  it  therefore 
better  to  postpone  my  visit,  as  you  were  kind  enough  to  say  I  might,  if  the 
world  went  upside  down.  Dr.  Doratt,  having  engaged  me  to  write,  sent  also 
yesterday  to  say  he  had  forgotten  his  engagement  to  the  Hamiltons,  brute 
that  he  is  for  his  pains.  I  will  come  when  the  weather  changes,  and,  not  to 
disturb  you,  will  send  the  same  morning  to  ask  if  it  suits  you.  Kind  com 
pliments  to  your  party.  Perhaps  you  have  got  another  Museum  or  other 
book.  WILLIAM  GELL." 

"  Naples. 

"  I  lost  no  time  in  consulting  the  doctor,  all  the  way  down  the  hill,  and  as 
far  as  he  goes  there  would  be  no  difficulty,  except  his  engagement  with  Sir 
William  Drummond.  He  said,  at  the  same  time,  what  a  fool  he  should  look 
like  if  Sir  William  D.  died  in  ten  years,  and  he  found  himself  without  a  shil 
ling.  It  was  resolved,  therefore,  to  talk  to  Sir  William,  and  the  consequence 
was,  a  declaration  that  five  years  was  to  him  the  same  as  his  whole  life  ;  that 
he  would  give  the  other  hundred  a  year  which  I  stated  to  be  necessary  for  the 
present,  and  that  he  had  left  Dr.  Watson  £200  and  some  other  things.* 

"  He  said  at  the  same  time,  that  if  Dr.  Watson  wished  it,  he  was  at  liberty, 
and  such  a  resolution  should  have  no  effect  in  changing  his  good  intentions 
toward  him. 

"  However,  of  course,  seeing  that  Sir  William  listened  to  the  reason  ot  the 
case  (which  he  always  does  when  properly  explained),  the  doctor  would  be 
very  unwilling  to  give  him  any  pain  on  the  subject. 

"  You  see  you  have  been  the  cause  of  good,  so  let  us  console  ourselves,  and 
pray  believe  me,  most  truly  and  affectionately,  W.  GELL." 

"  Naples. 

"  According  to  your  orders,  I  have  told  Mr.  Craven  that  he  has  to  appoint 
an  early  day  to  go  to  the  Bclvidere,  and  he  will  come  on  Wednesday. 

"  That  being  fixed,  I  have  to  inform  your  ladyship  that  the  weather  seem 
ingly  consenting  to  relent,  Dr.  Watson  and  I  have  an  idea  of  a  trip  to  Pom 
peii  to-morrow,  and  having  had  a  sort  of  half  agreement  with  your  amiable 
party,  I  think  perhaps  you  may  not  be  disinclined  to  the  excursion. 

*  Dr.  Watson,  the  medical  attendant  of  Sir  W.  Drummond,  one  of  the  most  em 
inent  linguists  of  Europe. — R.  R.  M. 


336  LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  CELL. 

"  Suppose  we  say  we  will  meet  there  at  or  about  twelve,  and  bring  our  din 
ners  in  our  pockets,  and  dine  either  in  the  quarters  at  the  great  table,  or  any 
where  else  about  three  or  four,  for  later  it  may  be  cold,  but  about  three  will 
be  very  agreeable,  the  place  being  sunny  and  sheltered.  You  can  dine  either 
in  the  villa  at  the  end  of  the  tombs,  in  the  Triclinium  of  the  tombs,  or  on  that 
of  the  Actseon,  in  the  centre  of  the  town,  or  in  the  Forum,  which  last  will  be 
sunny  and  warm,  just  as  you  please.  If  you  accede  to  these  propositions,  let 
me  know  what  dish  or  dishes  I  shall  bring  in  my  pocket  for  the  public  good. 

"  Would  you  be  so  good  as  to  ask  Count  D'Orsay  to  let  me  have  my  cam 
era  lucida,  as  without  that  I  am  not  fitted  out  for  my  labors. 

"  WILLIAM  GELL. 

"  I  think  I  myself  will  begin  at  the  soldiers'  quarters,  and  so  ramble  by  de 
grees  toward  the  Forum  and  the  new  excavations  there.  Thus  we  shall  meet 
without  doubt  or  difficulty,  even  if  you  begin  from  the  tombs,  which  is  much 
the  most  striking,  and  consequently  the  best  beginning. 

"A.  S.  E.  Madamigclla  M.  A.  P.  a  casa  del  Conti  di  Blessington,  Palazzo  Negroni." 

"Naples. 

"  If  I  waited  longer  I  might  get  a  better  piece  of  paper,  but  I  have  110  pa 
tience,  so  this  is  just  to  let  you  know,  madam,  that  your  carnival  pranks  have 
all  been  watched,  and  that  I  have  observed  your  tricks  for  the  last  five  days. 

"Tremble,  then,  when  you  see  the  handwriting  of  your  jealous 

''LAWFUL." 

"Rome,  April  5th,  1824. 

"  I  really  did  arrive  at  Rome  on  the  12th  of  last  month,  having  quitted  your 
city  on  the  8th,  and  having  experienced  on  the  way  every  possible  misfortune 
except  being  overturned  or  carried  into  the  mountains.  In  short,  I  know 
nothing  to  equal  my  journey  except  the  ninety-nine  misfortunes  of  Pulici- 
nella  in  a  Neapolitan  puppet-show.  I  set  out  without  my  cloak  in  an  open 
carriage  ;  mv  only  hope  of  getting  warmer  at  St.  A  gat  a.  was  destroyed  bv  an 
English  family,  who  had  got  possession  of  the  only  chimney.  I  had  a  dread 
ful  headache,  which,  by-the-by,  recollecting  to  have  lost  at  your  house  by 
eating  an  orange,  I  tried  again  with  almost  immediate  effect.  Next  morning 
one  of  my  horses  fell  ill  at  the  moment  of  being  put  to  the  carriage,  and  has 
continued  so  ever  since,  .so  that  I  have  had  to  buy  another,  which  is  so  very 
(what  they  call)  good  that  it  is  nearly  as  useless  as  the  other,  so  that  I  never 
go  out  without  risking  my  neck.  When,  at  length,  I  got  to  Rome  in  a  storm 
of  sleet,  I  found  a  bill  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  against  me  for  protect 
ing  useless  lemon-trees  against  the  frost  of  the  winter,  which,  added  to  the 
expense  of  the  new  horse  and  the  old  one,  have  ever  since  caused  the  horrors 
of  a  jail  to  interpose  themselves  between  me  and  every  enjoyment,  and  so 
much  for  the  ugly  side  of  the  question. 

"  In  other  respects  I  am  in  very  good  health  and  spirits,  and  go  out  every 
day  to  dinners,  of  which  the  chief  givers  have  hitherto  been  Lady  Mary  Deer- 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  337 

hurst,  Mr.  Morritt,  of  Rokeby,  Lord  Dudley,  Lord  Kinnaird,  Torlonia,  Mrs. 
Beaumont  and  Co.,  and  others,  besides  the  same  company,  Mr.  Irving  or  Ir 
vine,  Mr.  and  Lady  Selina  Robinson,  Lord  C.  Fitzroy,  Lord  Ashley,  Captain 
Southill,  His  Highness  the  Prince  of  Mecklenburgh,  Dr.  Wilson,  a  most 
agreeable  Scot,  fresh  from  Egypt,  Jerusalem,  and  all  the  East,  and  very  talk 
ative,  Mr.  Hare,  Mr.  Dodwell,  and  your  humble  servant,  to  which  lately  \vo 
add  Sir  William  Drummond  and  Dr.  Quin.  Do  not,  therefore,  imagine  that 
in  dinners  or  dinner  company  we  are  at  all  behind  you  at  Naples,  though  all 
the  strangers  are  supposed  to  have  left  this  place,  the  Lord  rest  their  souls. 
Since  my  arrival  we  have  had  nothing  but  misfortunes  ;  first,  the  sad  affair 
of  Miss  Bathurst,*  and,  secondly,  the  death  of  the  Duchess  of  Devonshire. 
Miss  Bathurst's  death  really  made  every  body  unhappy,  having  been  one  of 
the  principal  delights  of  the  society  here  while  living,  and  really  beloved  by 
every  body.  Lord  Aylmer  does  not  appear  to  be  recovered  yet  as  to  spirits, 
and  it  seems  that  the  idea  still  recurs  to  him  every  instant :  at  first  his  ex 
ertions  in  the  water,  and  the  agitation  he  underwent,  seemed  to  threaten  his 
senses  for  some  days. 

"Mr.  Mills  has  been  of  the  greatest  use  to  him,  having  at  length  succeed 
ed  in  persuading  him  to  talk  about  the  fatal  business  till  he  acquired  by  de 
grees  a  little  calmness  and  fortitude.  Mills  eats  his  breakfast  as  usual,  and 
desires  your  ladyship  may  be  informed  of  the  circumstance,  adding,  he  will 
give  you  a  breakfast  at  the  Vigna  Palatina,  as  he  has  done  to  Lord  and  Lady 
Aylmer  almost  every  morning  for  the  last  fortnight.  They  go  away  in  a  day 
or  two  to  meet  the  unhappy  Mr.  Bathurst  at  Genoa. 

"  The  poor  duchess  had  every  possible  consolation  at  her  death.  By  the 
most  lucky  chance,  the  duke  and  Mrs.  Ellis  were  here,  and  Dr.  Quin,  coming 
here  for  a  frolic,  sat  up  with  her  eight  nights,  so  as  to  have  hurt  his  own 
health.  He  describes  her  as  dying  in  the  most  calm  and  amiable  manner  pos 
sible,  and  the  physicians  having  permitted  her  to  see  her  friends  when  they 
had  no  longer  any  hope,  the  duke,  Mr.  Ellis,  the  Due  de  Laval,  and  Mr.  Ar- 
taud  went  to  see  her,  to  take  leave  of  her,  as  well  as  Dr.  Nott  or  Knott,  who 
had  a  conversation  with  her  very  satisfactory  to  him  on  matters  of  religion, 
showing  that  she  did  not  die  a  Catholic,  and  would  have  taken  the  sacrament, 
but  the  doctors  would  not  permit  it  on  account  of  her  weakness.  Dr.  Quin 
had  been  desired  by  the  Duke  of  Devonshire  to  be  present  at  the  embalming 
of  the  body,  which  is  to  go  by  land  to  England.  It  was  discovered  that  an 
ossification  of  the  arteries  had  commenced,  so  that  in  a  short  time  she  would 
probably  have  died  from  that  cause,  had  not  an  accidental  cold,  neglected  by 
herself  for  too  long  a  period,  thus  destroyed  her.  And  now  I  will  give  you 
no  more  of  the  miseries  of  this  life.  I  hope  you  have  at  length  had  better 
weather.  Mr.  Morritt  says  that  for  two  months  the  thermometer  has  been 
seven  degrees  higher  in  London  than  Rome  this  winter.  What  will  Lord 

*  The  lamentable  death  of  Miss  Bathurst,  who  was  drowned  in  the  Tiber  in 
February,  1824.— R.  R.  M. 
VOL.  I.— P 


338  LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 

Blessing-ton  say  to  an  Italian  climate  after  this]  but  when  I  recollect  that  I 
have  been  able  to  breakfast  in  my  loggia,  in  a  hot  sun  every  morning,  except, 
perhaps,  ten  during  the  winter,  I  shall  not  be  easily  persuaded  that  we  are  not 
better  off.  I  found  two  letters  from  Lady  Westmoreland,  who  has  already 
got  at  Malta  £300  worth  of  things  prepared  for  her  voyage  to  and  in  Egypt, 
where  she  will  probably  never  go.  I  have  answered  her  with  my  own  pro 
jects,  but  do  not  build  much  on  the  negotiation. 

"  In  the  mean  time,  they  say  the  Pacha  of  Egypt  has  declared  himself  in 
dependent  ;  and  others  state  that  he  is  going  in  person  to  attack  the  Morea, 
which  last  is  a  folly  he  never  will  be  guilty  of,  as  the  government  of  Constan 
tinople  would  then  catch  him  in  a  trap.  If  he  quits  the  country,  adieu  to 
traveling  there,  and  so  says  Mr.  Wilkinson  at  Cairo,  from  whom  I  have  an 
other  letter,  saying  the  pasha  has  now  30.000  men  armed  and  disciplined  in 
the  European  manner,  with  which  certainly  he  might  bid  defiance  to  the  Porte, 
if  the  opinion  or  religion  of  the  multitude  be  sufficiently  changed  for  them  to 
resist  an  imperial  order  to  lay  down  their  arms  before  the  standard  of  the 
Prophet. 

"  Lord  Dudley  will  set  out  for  Naples  the  first  fine  day.  I  don't  know 
whether  Dr.  Watson  has  had  any  success  with  the  volume  of  Dr.  Ilichardson 
lent  to  Sir  William  Drummond  ;  his  illness  and  his  usual  carelessness  seem 
to  have  been  our  great  enemies.  I  don't  know  what  to  do  about  it,  except 
10  pray  that  as  Lord  Blessington  had  the  goodness  to  send  for  a  copy  for  me. 
lie  will  possess  himself  of  that,  and  leave  the  oilier  at  Naples.  I  am  so  much 
ashamed  of  my  neighbor's  conduct,  that  I  never  will  be  responsible  for  him 
again.  Alas  !  he  is  so  accustomed  to  losing  and  destroying  books,  that  he 
feels  no  shame  himself  on  the  occasion,  and  swears,  though  he  conversed 
frequently  about  the  book,  he  never  saw  it  in  his  life.  Indeed,  he  never  does 
read  a  book  except  for  the  first  live  minutes,  lie  seems  in  very  good  health 
and  spirits,  and  his  trip  to  Rome  has  already  done  him  good.  I  am  quite 
sorry  you  all  hate  this  place  so  much,  for  I  find  myself  better  amused  in  gen 
eral  than  at  Naples,  where  there  is  nothing  but  eternal  Toledo,  Chiaja,  and  San 
Carlo.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  this  is  preferable  for  society  ;  but  for  me, 
I  think  one  great  motive  of  preference  is  a  large  and  shady  garden,  where  I 
can  hobble  among  and  under  my  own  trees  of  my  own  planting.  I  have  al 
ready  been  on  one,  and  I  intend  to  <>;o  on  several  excursions  to  different  parts 
of  the  country,  where  I  make  observations  for  the  making  of  a  map  of  the 
neighborhood.  Every  body  seems  inclined  to  go  on  these  excursions,  so  my 
researches  appear  as  if  they  would  become  the  fashion  in  the  shape  of  morn 
ing  rides  and  drives,  with  cold  dinners  brought  to  the  point  of  rendezvous.  I 
fear  you  see  little  or  nothing  of  Craven,  who  seemed  to  me,  when  I  left  him, 
as  if  he  was  established  for  life,  tacked  to  his  mamma's  apron,  without  benefit, 
of  clergy. 

"  I  hope  you  will  let  me  hear  how  you  all  go  on,  and  what  you  are  all  do 
ing,  and  that  you  have  given  up  that  tour  in  Sicily,  where  you  will  have  more 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  339 

than  the  inconvenience  of  Egypt,  with  very  little  of  the  entertainment  or  profit. 
If  the  Egyptian  journeys  can  not  be  contrived,  I  have  a  sort  of  faint  idea  of  a 
tour  to  Como,  and  the  northern  Italian  lakes.  I  kiss  your  hand  and  feet ;  and 
with  the  kindest  regards  to  the  count  and  the  great  Mathews,  believe  me, 
my  dear  Lady  Blessington,  your  affectionate  and  faithful 

"  WILLIAM  GELL." 


CHAPTER  XVII. 

LETTERS    OF   SIR    WILLIAM    GELL    TO    LADY    BLESSINGTON. 

"Rome,  4th  July,  1824. 

"  1  was  going  on  in  much  too  flourishing  a  state  of  health  and  jack-ass 
riding  when  I  received  an  unlucky  letter  from  Dr.  Watson,  congratulating 
me  on  the  same,  and  singing  the  praises  of  Dr.  Neiker,  who  he  says  has 
cured  him  of  his  infamous  headache. 

"  This  was  a  sort  of  triumph  old  Nick  could  not  allow,  so  the  same  day, 
having  invited  Dodwell  to  dine  under  the  trees  in  my  garden  in  order  to  con 
cert  an  expedition  to  Soracte,  &c.,  which  would  have  taken  up  three  days, 
after  which  I  meant  immediately  to  throw  myself  at  your  feet,  I  was  obliged 
to  be  carried  to  my  post,  and  have  never,  since  the  27th  of  June,  made  a  single 
pace  on  my  own  feet,  nor  till  this  evening  in  any  other  manner.  In  the  mean 
time  I  have  really  very  little  pain,  though  I  have  been  so  bewildered  that  I 
could  not  even  sit  up  for  two  days — a  great  inconvenience,  as  it  deprives  one 
of  so  many  amusements.  At  present  I  am  better,  or  the  scene  is  shifting, 
which  it  makes  no  scruple  of  doing  between  both  feet,  both  knees,  and  a 
dozen  or  two  of  the  elbows  and  fingers  ;  and  thus  you  have  had  a  long  and 
dull  account  of  my  enemy  and  myself. 

''  I  have  been,  since  I  wrote  last  to  your  ladyship,  doing  nothing  but  living 
in  the  country  houses  of  the  Romans.  We  had  a  week  at  Tivoli,  at  the  Villa 
Santa  Croce,  after  we  returned  from  Bracciano.  We  next  borrowed  the  palace 
of  the  Duke  of  Tagerolo  of  that  ilk,  and  thought  that  though  the  thieves  were 
already  strong  in  the  field,  a  population  of  four  or  five  thousand  souls,  with 
the  ducal  palace  in  the  centre,  would  render  the  neighborhood  safer  for  us  ; 
and  indeed  so  we  found  it,  having  the  good  fortune  to  assify  all  over  the 
country  in  all  directions  unassailed.  Lady  Mary  Deerhurst,  who  is  the  lady 
of  the  castle  on  all  these  excursions,  carries  the  whole  household,  children, 
tutor,  governess,  dogs,  and  the  rest  of  the  royal  familv,  so  that  we  made  some 
show  even  in  the  largest  of  these  mansions,  that  at  Zagarolo  being  really  a 
magnificent  pile,  and  the  place  where  the  pope  of  those  days  sent  the  learned 
men  to  consult  on  the  best  Catholic  edition  of  the  Bible,  since  published,  and 
called  the  Vulgate.  Here  we  were  joined  for  some  days  by  Lords  Kinnaird 
and  Dudley,  and  Mr.  Hare,  to  say  nothing  of  Mrs.  Dalton,  and  two  beaux, 
Mr.  Bacon  and  Mr.  Stevenson,  whom  Lady  Mary  found  out  one  day  bv  chance 


340  LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 

as  she  was  riding  through  Valmontone,  the  whole  party  and  I  believe  three 
carriages  having  only  mistaken  their  way  a  little,  and  traveled  through  the 
whole  territory  of  the  thieves  by  Monte  Casino,  thinking  they  were  going  by 
the  Terracina  road,  much  as  the  lovely  Bess  Caldwell  went  halfway  to  Vienna 
in  her  way  from  Brussels  to  Paris. 

"  When  we  had  seen  every  thing  in  that  country  we  returned  again  to 
Rome,  whence  we  fitted  out  several  little  expeditions  for  the  day,  and  discov 
ered  several  cities  with  good  old  Greek-looking  walls  of  large  blocks,  which 
the  wags  and  antiquaries  had  no  idea  of. 

"  Probably  the  lost  cities  taken  by  Romulus  and  the  Tar  quins  will  all  be 
found  in  time,  if  we  all  live  and  are  well,  which,  as  you  very  wisely  observe, 
is  doubtful. 

"  I  shall  only  give  you  one  more  of  our  tours  in  search  of  Cures,  the  ancient 
city  of  the  Sabines,  whence  came  Mr.  Smith's  cousin,  King  Tatius,  and  all  the 
Quirites  to  Rome.  We  found  the  place,  though  there  are  but  few  remains, 
near  the  modern  village  and  river  Correse,  a  charming  trout  stream,  running 
through  the  most  beautiful  country  we  had  ever  seen.  Between  the  high 
range  of  Monte  Gennaro  (Lucretili  according  to  Mathews)  and  the  Tiber  is 
a  country  perhaps  eight  miles  in  width,  interspersed  with  villages  at  short 
distances,  perched  on  the  most  romantic  spots,  perfectly  defended  by  nature, 
but  beautifully  picturesque,  with  the  remains  of  the  ancient  fortifications  of 
the  baronial  houses.  We  had  the  palace  of  Prince  Sierra  at  Monte  Libretti, 
one  of  those  villages,  and  though  we  had  it  not  enough  to  ourselves  to  be  very 
comfortable,  we  managed  to  make  our  excursions  with  effect.  Nothing  can 
give  you  an  idea  of  the  infinite  beauty  of  the  country,  which,  generally  speak 
ing,  seems  an  eternal  forest  of  oaks  and  spina  Christi ;  yet  every  now  and 
then,  and  just  when  you  wish  it,  opening  into  a  little  cultivation,  either  in 
corn,  flax,  or  gardens.  Every  half  mile,  in  crossing  the  direction  of  the  great 
mountains  which  bound  the  whole,  you  have  a  descent  by  a  precipice  into  a 
deep  woody  dell,  with  its  little  stream,  sometimes  with  a  patch  of  cultivation, 
and  forcing  its  way  through  the  rocks  ;  but  I  will  say  no  more,  lest  you  should 
think  the  gout  is  got  into  my  head.  How  sorry  you  will  all  have  been  for 
Lord  Byron.  We  have  a  little  medal  here  of  him,  but  it  might  as  well  have 
been  of  Caesar,  to  my  eye.  They  should  have  sent  to  Count  D'Orsay  for  a 
profile.  It  is  really  a  sad  loss  to  literature,  and  an  immense  deficit  of  interest 
from  the  Greek  cause.  I  am  afraid  the  said  cause  is  not  very  flourishing,  as 
we  begin  to  receive  letters  from  ruined  families  of  the  Greeks,  saying  that, 
having  lost  almost  all  they  had  by  the  revolution,  and  no  law  existing,  they 
fled  with  the  little  remainder,  and  now  solicit  your  excellency's  support.  In 
the  mean  time,  Lady  Westmoreland,  who  had  been  nearly  famished  during  the 
late  scarcity  of  'cases,'  is  quite  set  up  again  by  Mr.  Battler's  case,  and  the 
death  of  Lord  Byron  before  he  had  time  to  reform  ;  and  with  these  two  she  is 
now  exercising  her  eloquence,  first  at  Venice,  and  since  at  Vicenza,  and  other 
towns  in  the  north  of  Italy,  where  Mr.  Craven  met  her.  Craven  writes  from 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  34^ 

the  Lake  of  Wallensee  on  the  16th,  and  Munich  the  17th  of  June.  He  finds 
no  attempt  at  pease,  or  even  salad.  At  Wallensee  several  patches  of  snow 
down  to  the  water's  edge.  The  elder  flowers  not  come  out.  The  apple-trees 
yet  in  early  bloom,  and  a  sharp  frost  every  evening.  Two  days  before,  he  was 
eating  over-ripe  cherries  in  Italy. 

"  I  wish  I  could  send  you  a  good  account  of  the  robbers,  but  nothing  has 
been  heard  of  them  lately,  except  that  they  are  living  like  fifty  prodigal  sons 
at  Montellano  on  the  product  of  the  last  ransom.  When  that  is  spent,  of 
course  they  will  send  for  more  ;  and  if  I  get  well  by  the  time  they  begin  to 
infest  the  road,  I  must  really  take  the  liberty  to  escape  by  sea,  for  to  be  beaten 
to  death  because  I  can  not  walk  into  the  mountains,  or,  being  taken  on  an  ass, 
to  have  to  pay  the  greater  part  of  my  fortune  for  a  ransom,  would  neither  of 
them  be  advisable  cases.  I  hope,  at  least,  the  earl  now  likes  the  Belvidere 
better  than  in  the  winter,  when  the  window  curtains  sometimes  insisted  on 
becoming  part  of  the  dinner  company  at  the  table.  Speaking  of  a  gun,  do 
any  of  you  want  a  groom,  named  Crispin,  who  has  been  all  over  this  country 
with  Lady  Mary,  but  which  Lady  Mary  is  now  gone  to  Leghorn  with  only  an 
English  groom  for  her  riding-horses,  and,  in  consequence,  the  man  is  left  in 
my  hands  to  dispose  of  1  Now  for  a  description.  Crispin  is  of  middle  stature, 
slim,  active,  intelligent,  and  much  in  appearance  like  a  real  slang  English 

groom  ;  in  feature  like  a  baddish  caricature  of  K C put  into  an  oven 

till  his  hair  was  singed.  Born  at  Viterbo,  aged  about  thirty,  and  I  suspect 
concerned  in  divers  serenades,  sung  in  a  high  key,  and  not  remarkable  for 
precision,  which  I  sometimes  hear  in  the  street.  If  any  of  the  family  of  Bel 
videre  want  for  themselves,  or  can  dispose  to  their  neighbors  of  a  person 
so  eminently  qualified,  he  is  now  to  be  had  cheap.  I  hope  you  will  be  able 
to  read  my  writing,  as  it  has  only  just  occurred  to  me  that  I  am  obliged  to 
sit  in  a  posture  which  I  can  not  do  myself,  with  my  feet  in  the  air.  I  have 
no  news  from  England.  A  friend  wrote  to  me  in  the  greatest  haste  to  help 

him  to  a  peerage,  that  of  Darcy  of .*  I  gave  him  his  answer,  and  told 

him  Darcy  of  Navan  was  what  he  had  a  claim  to,  and  no  other  of  that  name. 
Yet  I  have  had  no  answer,  so  conclude  he  has  died  of  it,  as  it  is  now  above 
three  months  ago.  They  say  the  Aberdeens  are  coming  here,  instigated,  if 
true,  I  suppose,  by  Captain  Gordon.  We  have  long  been  without  a  single 
milord  of  any  sort  or  kind,  but  I  believe  there  yet  remain  many  of  a  tribe  of 
both  sexes,  who  are  in  want  of  money  to  go  away  the  next  day  to  England 
with  a  very  pitiful  story,  which  they  take  round  every  winter,  without  ever 
quitting  for  an  instant  the  Holy  City. 

"  We  have  yet  had  not  a  hint  on  the  subject  of  the  learned  'Faustus.'  I 
hope  and  trust  she  has  been  exorcised  long  ago,  and  does  not  mean  to  be  ill 
any  more,  but  to  be  a  nice  little  neat  sort  of  a  tidy  discreet  old  sort  of  a  body 
as  usual,  when  fate  allows  me  to  come  clumping  like  a  parrot  into  her  pres- 

*  Word  illegible.— R.  R.  M. 


342 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 


ence.     I  kiss  the  hems  of  your  garments.     I  salute  the  whole  company,  and 
am  most  affectionately  and  faithfully,  W.  G." 

"  Rome,  October  2d,  1824. 

"  I  am  sitting  in  my  garden,  under  the  shade  of  my  own  vines  and  figs,  my 
dear  Lady  Blessington,  where  I  have  been  looking  at  the  people  gathering 
the  grapes,  which  are  to  produce  six  barrels  of  what  I  suspect  will  prove  very 
bad  wine  ;  and  all  this  sounds  very  well  till  I  tell  you  that  I  am  positively  sit 
ting  in  a  wheelbarrow,  which  I  found  the  only  means  of  conveying  my  crazy 
person  into  the  garden.  Don't  laugh.  Miss  Power.  The  fact  is,  that  all  those 
feelings  which  I  had  for  two  days  at  your  house  most  kindly  contrived  to  re 
solve  themselves  into  a  fit  of  the  gout  on  the  very  morning  of  my  departure, 
so  that  I  got  into  the  carriage  in  torture,  and  was  obliged  to  be  borne  out  by 
two  porters  at  Capua,  since  which  time  till  to-day  I  have  never  put  a  foot  to 
the  ground.  I  considered,  at  Capua,  that  if  I  let  Sir  W.  Drummond  turn  back, 
as  he  wanted  to  do,  it  was  most  probable  he  would  fall  ill  before  I  was  well, 
and  he  would  be  thus  disappointed  of  his  tour,  so  I  was  carried  again  to  the 
coach,  and,  after  a  drive  of  thirty-five  miles  to  San  Germano  with  the  same 
horses,  through  a  most  beautiful  country,  and  not  very  bad  road,  we  found 
ourselves  compelled  at  sunset  to  mount  two  wretched  asses,  and  climb  by  a 
steep  zigzag  road  for  an  hour  and  a  half  to  the  monastery  of  Monte  Casino. 
All  this,  with  a  fit  of  the  gout,  was  certainly  rather  an  undertaking,  but  I  was 
carried  by  some  very  good  people  of  the  jackasses  up  five  hundred  steps  and 
forty  corridors,  and  laid  upon  a  bed,  where  the  holy  fathers,  the  very  nicest  of 
Thingumbcrrys  in  the  world,  were  so  kind  to  me  that  I  could  have  been  no 
where  better.  They  gave  us  a  fine  supper  in  the  next  room,  as  I  found  by 
the  number  of  good  plates  they  brought,  and  tried  to  persuade  me  to  eat.  Sir 
William  Drummond  seemed  quite  pleased  with  them,  and  talked  till  a  late 
hour,  and  they,  on  their  parts,  seemed  equally  delighted  with  him.  The  next 
morning,  Tuesday,  they  took  him  to  see  their  library,  which  is  very  good,  and 
their  archivio,  or  room  of  manuscripts  ;  and  finding  I  was  not  in  a  movable 
state,  they  were  so  kind  as  to  send  five  or  six  of  their  most  curious  MSS.  to 
me.  Among  them  was  the  MS.  Virgil,  which  has  all  the  lines  filled  up  (by 
the  Lord  knows  who)  which  Yirgil  had  left  unfinished  in  his  hurry  to  die. 
We  remained  there  till  Saturday,  when  I  descended  the  mountain  in  a  sedan 
chair,  and  we  renewed  our  journey.  On  Friday,  the  fathers  insisted  on  my 
seeing  their  wonders  in  the  said  sedan  ;  and  I  went  into  the  church  to  hear 
the  celebrated  organ,  which,  in  the  shattered  state  of  my  nerves,  only  served 
to  make  me  cry.  The  church  is  really  the  most  beautiful  thing  ever  seen. 
It  is  entirely  incrusted  with  the  finest  marbles,  and  neither  stone  nor  mortar 
appears  in  any  part  of  it.  The  pilasters  are  inlaid  in  beautiful  arabesques  of 
verd-antique,  porphyry,  and  serpentino  ;  and  the  whole  so  clean,  so  new,  and 
«o  polished,  that,  till  I  had  seen  it,  I  had  no  idea  of  the  effect  which  might  be 
produced  by  colored  marbles.  The  floor  is  also  equally  beautiful  and  simple, 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  343 

and  the  ceiling  gilt  and  painted  in  the  gayest  and  most  elegant  manner.  Un 
der  the  dome  is  the  abbot's  throne,  and  in  the  chancel  the  stalls  are  of  carved 
oak,  of  the  most  elaborate  and  astonishing  workmanship.  When  the  first 
effect  of  the  organ  had  passed  off,  I  found  it  was  really  more  like  an  orchestra 
than  any  thing  I  had  ever  heard,  and  the  organist  was  never  tired  of  playing, 
and  of  setting  it  off  to  the  best  advantage.  These  people  are  really  learned 
monks,  and  we  found,  out  of  ten,  three  or  four  who  were  good  scholars,  and 
had  even  got  as  far  as  the  Hebrew.  In  former  times  they  had  great  revenues, 
and  more  than  one  hundred  residents.  They  have  now  16,000  ducats,  or 
about  £3000  per  annum.  Nothing  could  exceed  their  kindness  to  us,  and  we 
did  our  best  to  repay  it,  by  showing  them  the  sextant,  camera  lucida,  and  ali 
we  possessed,  which  might  be  new  to  them  in  science  or  literature.  Quitting 
these  good  souls,  we  began  our  adventures,  intending  to  go  to  Rome  by  the 
nearest  way.  We  set  out,  therefore,  with  a  vetturino  for  Ceprano,  the  first 
town  in  the  Roman  States.  We  found,  near  St.  Gcrmano,  the  remains  of  an 
amphitheatre  ;  and  we  spun  along  a  fine  new  road,  past  Aquino  to  below 
ilocca  Secca,  for  two  hours  or  more,  with  the  greatest  success,  and  there  met 
with  the  River  Melfa,  almost  dry,  but  at  the  bottom  of  a  deep,  rocky  dell,  over 
which  a  bridge  is  building — to  get  over  the  stream ;  it  was  therefore  neces 
sary  to  diverge  to  the  right,  and  in  about  twenty  minutes  we  regained  the 
good  road,  only  to  quit  it  forever  on  the  left,  and  wander  for  the  rest  of  the 
day  in  the  wilds  and  vineyards,  without  roads  or  any  fixed  direction.  It  ap 
pears  that,  if  ever  five  miles  of  the  road  be  made,  there  will  be  no  difficulty  in 
reaching  Ceprano  in  a  direct  line.  As  it  is,  however,  the  fine  road  rnns  to 
the  right  to  Sara,  and  we  were  condemned  to  hunt  our  fortune  in  a  large  coach 
and  four,  and  at  last  to  make  nine  or  ten  miles  out  of  the  five.  There  were 
few  absolute  dangers,  particularly  as  the  weather  had  been  dry,  but  it  began 
to  rain  in  the  afternoon,  and  we  passed  a  sort  of  devil's  bridge  between  two 
precipices  of  slippery  earth,  which  was  not  quite  agreeable.  We  reached  at 
length  the  little  village  of  Isolatta,  and  soon  after  got  into  the  Roman  States, 
•where  we  found  a  road,  and  a  very  good  new  bridge  over  the  Liris,  by  which 
we  entered  the  little  town  of  Ceprano.  Here  we  lodged  at  the  house  of  a 
surgeon,  to  whom  our  friends  of  Monte  Casino  had  recommended  us,  and  we 
were  treated  as  well  as,  under  a  very  humble  roof,  we  could  expect.  In  the 
morning  of  Sunday  we  set  out  again,  and,  passing  by  a  very  decent  but  tire 
some  road,  eternally  mounting  and  descending,  but  in  a  well-cultivated  and 
pretty  country,  through  Frosinone,  Ferentino,  and  Anagni,  cities  of  Latium, 
with  great  remains  of  antiquity,  we  arrived  at  night  at  Valmontane,  having 
gone  forty-four  miles  with  the  same  horses  from  Ceprano.  As  we  came  late, 
though  the  inn  is  very  large,  it  was  occupied,  and,  after  a  good  deal  of  waiting 
and  trouble,  we  got  two  corn-chambers,  with  damp  bods  to  sleep  in.  Sir  Will 
iam  could  not  sleep,  but  in  the  morning  we  proceeded  to  the  Holy  City,  twenty- 
five  miles,  and  arrived  at  two  o'clock,  having  performed  our  journey  through 
the  whole  of  the  thieves'  country  without  any  sinister  accident.  Lord  Kin- 


344 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 


naird  we  saw  on  our  arrival,  and  Mr.  Mills  came  the  same  day.  Mr.  Millin- 
gen  was  also  here,  and  is  gone  on  to  Paris.  Lady  Mary  Deerhurst  came  yes 
terday,  and  I  expect  her  in  my  garden  every  minute.  Craven  arrives  to-mor 
row,  and  the  margravine  is  hourly  expected :  a  most  wonderful  coincidence 
of  travelers.  My  companion  voted  me  too  crazy  to  accompany  him  to  Albano, 
where  he  thinks  he  is  going  to  ride  about  on  the  mountain,  so  I  am  sent  to 
grass  for  a  few  days  at  my  own  casino  on  the  Quirinal.  I  expect  in  less 
than  a  week  to  be  summoned  to  Albano,  and  so  to  return  to  Naples,  when,  as 
I  already  begin  to  hobble,  I  expect  to  be  quite  well — in  my  way,  and  where  I 
hope  to  hear  of  you  on  my  arrival ;  for  I  will  not  let  you  write,  as  I  am  most 
uncertain  in  my  motions.  I  think  I  am  the  only  person  who  sets  out  at  the 
beginning  of  a  fit  of  the  gout  on  a  party  of  pleasure,  but  I  think  it  has  suc 
ceeded,  as  I  should  not  have  been  well  any  where  ;  and  I  can  say  that,  except 
starting,  the  pain  of  the  gout  seems  to  have  very  much  worn  itself  out,  or  to 
have  been  conquered  by  Dr.  Neiker.  You  will  know  poor  Miss  Bathurst's 
body  was  found  the  day  we  arrived.  A  flood  seems  to  have  removed  the  sand 
bank  which  had  covered  it,  near  the  scene  of  the  accident.  Having  been  al 
ways  under  water,  the  flesh  had  become  like  spermaceti,  and  the  hat,  veil,  &c., 
were  perfect ;  even  the  mouth  was  recognizable.  I  beg  my  kindest  regards 
to  the  earl,  count,  Mousey,  Mathews,  and  all  your  party.  W.  GELL." 

"Naples  (1824). 

"  '  The  doughty  Douglass'  could  not  come  because  he  was  going  away  so 
soon,  but  will  wait  upon  you  in  St.  James's  Square. 

"  I  intend  to  come  to-day,  and  will  bring  a  specimen  of  the  Royal  Letters, 
and  Mademoiselle  Demont's  journal,  if  you  will  be  at  home.*  Your  slave, 

"W.  GELL." 

*  On  the  queen's  trial  in  1820,  Louisa  Demont  was  examined.  Said  she  was 
a  native  of  Switzerland,  of  the  Pays  dc  Vaud,  a  Protestant;  engaged  with  her 
royal  highness  as  first  fe.imnc  dc  cJtambrc  at  Lausanne.  Her  testimony  was  the 
most  damaging  to  the  princess  of  all  the  evidence  of  the  crown  witnesses.  Sep 
tember  1st,  1820,  on  her  cross-examination,  said  she  had  been  in  England  thirteen 
months,  and  could  not  speak  English.  Was  discharged  by  the  princess  in  1817 
for  saying  something  which  was,  in  fact,  untrue.  Did  not  go  into  other  service, 
because  in  Switzerland  she  had  funds  of  her  own  sufficient  to  live  upon. 

A  letter  of  hers,  after  her  departure,  was  read  to  her  sister,  another  servant  of 
the  princess,  named  Marictte,  dated  8th  Feb.,  1818,  in  which  this  passage  occurs  : 
"  You  can  not  think,  Marictte,  what  a  noise  my  little  journal  lias  made."  In  this 
letter  she  says  she  spoke  in  her  journal  in  the  highest  terms  of  the  princess.  The 
whole  evidence  of  this  witness  showed  her  to  be  a  very  unscrupulous,  intriguing, 
cunning,  clever  person,  not  deficient  in  education.  Lord  Brougham  said  of  her, 
''  This  woman  was  the  most  perfect  specimen,  the  most  finished  model  of  the  com 
plete  waiting-maid."— R.  R.  M. 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  345 

"  Naples. 

"  I  have  been  thinking  of  your  learning  Italian,  and  think  at  last  I  could 
teach  you  in  two  hours  to  read  ;  and  as  you  are  professor  of  Pausanias  al 
ready,  would  willingly  have  a  set-to  at  a  little  bit  of  it  with  you  ;  there  can  be 
no  doubt  that  no  modern  language  is  equal  to  it,  and  when  you  have  it,  Latin, 
Spanish,  and  Portuguese  (to  read)  will  be  easy.  I  shall  therefore  bring  Pau 
sanias  on  Sunday  and  hope  you  will  not  have  company  who  will  prevent  my 
lesson.  With  kindest  regards  to  the  count  and  Lady  Julia, 

"WILLIAM  GELL." 

In  a  letter  of  Sir  William  Gell's,  addressed  to  Lady  Blessing- 
ton,  1824,  at  the  Villa  Belvidere,  the  following  observations  on 
mythological  emblems,  ornaments,  instruments,  and  vesture  are 
inserted,  in  the  hand-writing,  I  think,  of  Mr.  Craven,  probably 
transmitted  in  compliance  with  the  wishes  of  Lady  Blessington, 
communicated  to  Gell  : 

"  Certain  wreaths  were  peculiarly  given  as  rewards  to  the  winners  in  par 
ticular  games.  Wild  olive  was  the  recompense  in  the  Olympic  games,  laurel 
in  the  Pythian,  parsley  in  the  Nemean,  and  pine  twigs  in  the  Isthmic  games. 
The  diadem  or  fillet,  called  Credemnon,  was  among  the  gods  reserved  for  Ju 
piter,  Neptune,  Apollo,  and  Bacchus,  and  among  men  it  was  regarded  as  the 
peculiar  mark  of  royalty.  The  radiated  crown,  formed  of  long  sharp  spikes, 
emblematic  of  the  sun,  and  represented  as  issuing  from  the  head  of  that  deity, 
was  first  worn  only  on  the  tiaras  of  the  Armenian  and  Parthian  kings,  and 
afterward  became  adopted  by  the  Greek  sovereigns  of  Egypt  and  of  Syria. 
A  wreath  of  olive-branches  was  worn  by  ordinary  men  at  the  birth  of  a  son, 
and  a  garland  of  flowers  at  weddings,  on  festivals,  and  at  feasts  ;  in  order 
that  the  scent  might  be  more  fully  enjoyed,  the  wreath  was  often  worn  round 
the  neck.  As  a  symbol  of  power,  gods,  sovereigns,  and  heralds  carried  the 
sceptre,  or  hasta,  terminated  by  the  representation  of  some  animal  or  flower 
instead  of  a  point.  As  the  emblem  of  their  mission,  Mercury  and  all  messen 
gers  bore  the  caduceus  twined  round  the  serpent. 

"  The  car  of  each  Grecian  deity  was  drawn  by  some  peculiar  kind  of  animal 
or  bird  :  that  of  Juno  by  peacocks,  of  Apollo  by  griflins,  of  Diana  by  stags,  of 
Venus  by  swans  or  turtle-doves,  of  Mercury  by  rams,  of  Minerva  by  owls,  of 
Cybele  by  lions,  of  Bacchus  by  panthers,  of  Neptune  by  sea-horses.  The  Gor 
gon's  head,  with  its  round  chaps,  wide  mouth,  and  tongue  drawn  out,  emble 
matic  of  the  full  moon,  was  regarded  as  an  amulet  against  incantations  and 
spells,  and  is  for  that  reason  found  not  only  on  the  formidable  aegis  of  Jupiter 
and  of  Minerva,  as  well  as  on  cinerary  urns  and  in  tombs,  but  on  Grecian 
shields  and  breast-plates,  at  the  pole-ends  of  chariots,  and  in  the  most  conspic 
uous  parts  of  every  other  instrument  of  defense  or  protection  to  the  living  or 
the  dead.  The  prows  of  Greek  galleys  or  ships  of  war  were  ornamented  with 

P2 


346  LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 

the  cheniscus,  frequently  formed  like  the  head  and  neck  of  an  aquatic  bird,  and 
the  poop  with  the  aplustrum,  shaped  like  a  sort  of  honeysuckle.  Two  large 
eyes  were  generally  represented  near  the  prow,  as  if  to  make  the  vessel  like 
a  fish,  to  see  its  way  through  the  waves.  In  religious  processions  of  the 
Greeks,  masks  were  used  as  well  as  in  their  theatres,  and  in  order  to  repre 
sent  the  attendants  of  the  god  who  was  worshiped.  Thus,  in  Bacchanalian 
processions  (the  endless  subjects  of  ancient  bas-reliefs  and  paintings),  the 
fauns,  satyrs,  and  other  monstrous  beings  are  only  human  individuals  mask 
ed  ;  and  in  initiations  and  mysteries,  the  winged  genii  are  in  the  same  predic 
ament  ;  and  the  deception  must  have  been  the  greater,  as  the  ancient  masks 
were  made  to  cover  the  whole  head.  Of  these  masks,  which,  together  with 
all  else  that  belonged  to  the  theatre,  were  consecrated  to  Bacchus,  there  was 
an  infinite  variety.  Some  represented  abstract  feelings  or  characters,  such 
as  joy,  grief,  laughter,  dignity,  vulgarity,  masked  in  the  comic,  tragic,  and 
satyric  masks,  others  offered  portraits  of  real  individuals,  living  or  dead.  The 
thyrsus,  so  frequently  introduced,  was  only  a  spear,  of  which  the  point  was 
stuck  in  a  pine  cone,  or  wound  round  with  ivy  leaves.  Afterward,  to  render 
the  blows  given  with  it  during  drunkenness  harmless,  it  was  made  of  the  reed 
called  ferula. 

"Of  musical  instruments,  the  phorminx,  or  large  lyre,  was  dedicated  to 
Apollo,  and  was  played  upon  with  an  ivory  instrument  called  plectrum.  It 
was  usually  fastened  to  a  belt  hung  across  the  shoulder,  and  sometimes  sus 
pended  from  the  wrist  of  the  left  hand,  while  played  upon  with  the  right.  The 
cithara,  or  smaller  lyre,  was  dedicated  to  Mercury,  and  when  the  body  was 
formed  of  tortoise-shell,  and  the  arms  composed  of  a  goat's  horns,  it  was  call 
ed  chelys.  This  was  played  upon  by  the  fingers.  The  barbitos  was  a  much 
longer  instrument,  and  emitted  a  graver  sound.  The  trigonium,  or  triangle, 
an  instrument  borrowed  by  the  Greeks  from  Eastern  nations,  much  resem 
bled  the  harp.  Besides  these  instruments  with  chords,  the  Greeks  had  several 
wind  instruments,  principally  the  double  flute  and  the  syrinx,  or  Pan's  flute. 
To  these  may  be  added  a  certain  instrument  for  producing  noise,  the  tympanon, 
or  tambourine,  chiefly  used  in  the  festival  of  Bacchus  and  of  Cybele  :  the  crem- 
bala,  or  cymbals,  formed  of  metal  cups,  and  the  crolals,  or  castanets,  formed 
of  wood,  shaped  like  shells. 

"In  attire,  the  chlamys,  a  short  cloak,  was  a  garment  of  gods  and  heroes, 
fastened  over  the  shoulder  or  upon  the  chest.  Such  is  the  mantle  of  the  Apollo 
Belvidere,  and  many  of  the  statues  of  Mercury.  Wreaths  of  oak  leaves  were 
consecrated  to  Jupiter,  laurel  leaves  to  Apollo,  ivy  and  vine  to  Bacchus,  pop 
lar  to  Hercules,  wheat  ears  to  Ceres,  gold  or  myrtle  to  Venus,  fir  twigs  to  the 
fauns  and  sylvans,  and  reeds  to  the  river  gods. 

"The  pcplum  was  a  sort  of  mantle  worn  by  the  Greeks;  the  tunic  a  loose 
robe.  Venus  is  the  only  one  of  the  goddesses  that  is  represented  without  a 
peplum,  and  Diana  is  generally  represented  with  hers  furled,  and  drawn  tight 
over  the  shoulders  and  round  the  waist,  forming  a  girdle,  with  the  end*  fall- 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL.  347 

ing  down  in  front.     The  peplum  had  small  metal  points  attached  to  its  cor 
ners,  in  order  to  make  them  hang  more  straight  and  even." 

"  Rome,  23d  March,  1825. 

"  I  shall  never  have  the  pleasure  of  '  whipping  the  family  all  round  most 
severely'  again,  if  it  be  true  that  poor  old  Parr  is  really  dead,  as  I  see  it  an 
nounced  in  the  newspapers.  I  am  always  for  those  living  longest  who  con 
trive  to  be  content  with  the  world,  and  endeavor  to  make  the  best  of  it ;  and 
he  was  really  one  of  those.  I  conclude  he  was  by  no  means  young,  but  it  is 
a  pity  that  two  such  scholars  as  he  and  Porson  should  have  departed  without 
having  left  something  of  more  consequence  behind  them  to  perpetuate  their 
fame.  I  continued  to  mend  in  my  hobbling  as  I  approached  the  Holy  City, 
and  for  some  days  after  my  arrival ;  but,  as  fate  would  have  it,  all  my  friends 
lived  up  one  hundred  and  fifty  stairs,  and  I  ruined  myself  by  my  premature 
activity  so  effectually,  that,  though  without  pain,  I  have  been  forced  to  be  car 
ried  by  twTo  people,  one  of  whom  is  the  great  Pasquale,  till  three  days  ago. 
It  would  be  natural  that  I  should  have  therefore  seen  very  few  persons,  but 
the  good  Lady  Manvers,  who  protects  me  most  especially,  is  so  popular,  that, 
seated  in  her  wheeling  chair,  I  have  seen  almost  all  the  good  company  at  Rome, 
Lady  Bute  excepted,  who  threatens  me  with  a  visit  in  my  garden  to-day,  as 
she  does  not  attempt  stairs.  I  have  no  doubt  Dr.  Neiker  could  cure  her  of 
that  also.  We  have  Sir  George  Talbot,  who  gives  great  and  good  dinfters  as 
I  am  told,  for  I  was  not  well  enough  to  go  when  invited.  We  have  Lady 
Davy,  who  lives  in  the  right  horn  of  the  moon,  in  the  Valdombrino  palace,  up 
five  hundred  steps,  who  gives  agreeable  little  dinners  neither  great  nor  good. 
We  have  Anna  Maria  Starke,  who  gives  parties  and  misereres,  if  you  are  fond 
of  music  ;  Lady  George  Seymour,  who  has  a  very  pretty  daughter,  and  a  very 
nice  girl ;  Mr.  Rose,  the  man  of  Greek  inscriptions  ;  a  rich  Mr.  Ferguson, 
with  one  or  two  others,  last  from  Persepoiis  and  Bagdat ;  a  Baron  Uxscull 
or  Oxscull,  from  Finland,  last  from  Egypt  and  Syria,  with  a  collection  of  draw 
ings  ;  William  Burrell,  with  a  new  waistcoat  and  neck-handkerchief  of  real 
Cashmere  (or  do  you  spell  it  Cashemire)  shawl  for  every  day  in  the  year,  and 
a  gold  toilet ;  Mr.  Dodwell,  who  has  just  cut  open  a  mummy  in  public,  and 
found  it  to  be  a  lady  of  fashion  three  thousand  years  old,  and  his  pretty  wife, 
who  has  a  party  every  Sunday,  and  I  dine  with  them  to  remain  at  it ;  Mrs. 
Singleton,  nee  Upton,  and  Miss  Upton,  unmarried  ;  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lucas,  very 
nice  people,  from  Ireland  ;  Dr.  and  Mrs.  and  Miss  Hall,  the  Dean  of  Durham, 
from  Naples,  who  seem  good  people,  and  a  variety  of  others,  fathers  and  moth 
ers  unknown.  A  little  while  ago,  every  body  was  engaged  in  companies,  like 
Anglo-Mexican  miners,  to  make  excavations  in  secret ;  as  nobody  got  any 
good  by  these  speculations,  the  taste  seems  at  present  all  gone  into  the  mise 
rere  line,  and  there  really  are  arrived  many  pilgrims,  and  even  prelates,  who 
do  penance,  much  as  I  think  I  could  do  it  myself,  by  arriving  here  in  a  coach- 
and-four.  and  under  their  oil-cloth  dress  and  cockle-shells  are  clothed  in  real 


348  LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 

cloth  of  gold  and  fine  linen.  I  believe  the  Duke  of  Lucca  is  also  a  pilgrim, 
and,  in  short,  from  what  I  understand,  the  plot  begins  to  thicken,  and  the  des 
ert  of  Rome  to  be  peopled.  I  can  not  help  thinking  it  would  entertain  you 
all  exceedingly  to  make  a  trip  for  a  week,  particularly  as  holy  years  do  not 
occur  every  day  of  one's  life,  and  we  shall  end  with  an  illumination  and  fire 
works  of  the  most  brilliant  kind. 

"  I  wish  I  could  say  I  would  lodge,  clothe,  and  feed  you  if  you  would  come  ; 
but  for  amusement,  the  people,  the  quaintriess  of  every  thing,  and  the  air  of 
general  decadence,  are,  after  the  bustle  of  Naples,  things  to  ponder  upon,  and 
could  not  fail  to  strike  you  at  the  time,  and  to  prove  a  source  of  recollections 
and  reflections  afterward,  not  to  mention  the  queer  things  you  would  pick  up 
for  the  adventures  in  your  new  romance.  I  wish  you  would  engage  me  in 
that  to-be-celebrated  work.  Have  you  read  the  '  Travelers,'  a  book  with  some 
such  name,  with  anecdotes  of  all  the  robberies,  real  or  supposed,  in  the  way 
between  Rome  and  Naples  1  Have  you  got  '  the  Inheritance,'  by  the  author 
of  '  Marriage  1'  It  is  excellent,  and  very  interesting.  Think  of  poor  Colonel 

S hanging  himself,  and  the  shocking  affair  of  Lord  Shaftesbury's  son  at 

Eton.  The  world  is  gone  crazy.  Lady  Mary  Deerhurst  I  see  often,  and  she 
will  come  to  Naples  in  May.  She  wants  to  send  her  son  to  school  in  En 
gland.  Our  spring  is  very  backward,  but  nevertheless  I  find  my  garden,  which 
is  full  of  evergreens,  in  considerable  beauty.  When  the  weather  is  warmer 
I  shall  begin  my  geographic  excursions  with  Lady  Mary  and  Messrs.  Graham 
and  Dodwell.  We  purpose  going  up  Mount  Soracte  among  other  things,  and 
to  hire  all  the  diligence,  and  go  in  it  to  Civita  Vecchia,  and  thence  to  Corneto 
or  Tarquinium.  You  will  most  likely  think  us  all  very  crazy,  but  as  Lady 
Charlotte  Campbell  said,  if  it  be  not  right,  it  is  at  least  very  agreeable.  Lord 
Kinnaird  is  by  no  means  well,  and  it  is  supposed  he  must  quit  Rome.  I  hope 
Mesdames  Lucrezia  and  Letizia  continue  to  be  the  ornaments  of  their  profes 
sion,  and  to  draw  the  great  coach  with  success.  I  beg  to  be  most  kindly  re 
membered  to  my  lord  and  '  Lady  Julia.'  Pray  tell  the  count  his  particular 
friend  Dr.  Wilson  has  sent  Lady  Mary  also  some  oranges,  so  he  must  not 
think  the  protection  exclusive.  I  don't  hear  whether  he  called  her  '  Mary'  in 
his  letter,  or  added  her  title.  I  kiss  your  hands.  WTILLIAM  GELL." 

"  Drummond  has  given  his  word  of  honor  to  close  his  gates  to  the  abbot,* 
and  told  Craven  and  Scarfe  to  announce  it  to  the  world.  Captain  Scarfe  was 
a  witness,  and  Craven  says,  quite  eloquent,  and  without  compliments. 

"  There  docs  not  appear  to  be  any  svmpathy  for  the  abbot  at  present  any 

where.  Reilly  seems  a  sort  of  helper,  and  S in  the  worst  scrape  as  to 

the  figure  he  makes,  for  he  has  unsaid  and  has  to  reunsay.  Most  truly  and 
sincerely,  W.  GELL." 

*   The  \vell-kmnvn  Alil.o  Campbell.— R.  R.  M. 


LETTERS  OF  SIR  WILLIAM  GELL. 


349 


"  Naples. 

"  I  could  not  answer  your  last  kind  letter,  as  I  was  wofully  beset  by  bank 
er's  business  at  the  moment,  but  I  intended  to  have  sent  a  letter  this  morning, 
when  your  man  arrived.  I  must  come  to-morrow,  as  I  don't  like  to  refuse 
Craven  at  this  moment,  just  after  the  tidings  of  Lord  Craven's  death.  I  will 
come  on  Wednesday  to  dinner,  and  at  seven,  if  I  do  not  hear  that  your  hour 
is  changed,  if  you  can  see  me,  and  think  then,  with  assistance,  I  shall  be  able 
to  do  without  my  chair,  as  to-day  I  can  stand  alone.  I  am  quite  well,  but 
with  such  legs  (in  their  best  state),  I  am  long  in  recovering  the  little  use  of 
them  which  remains. 

"  A  nasty  man,  Mr.  R :  he  has  gone  and  bought  a  house  in  Piccadilly, 

on  which  I  had  £4000,  or  rather  an  annuity  of  £400  a  year,  which  has  thrown 
my  money,  or  rather  the  interest  of  it,  into  a  sad  state. 

"  With  kind  regards  to  the  Lady  Julia  and  the  count, 

"  WILLIAM  GELL." 

"  Naples. 

"  How  do  you  do  after  your  star-gazing  1  and  have  you  got  your  treasures 
safe,  and  has  the  count  been  angry  at  me  for  slipping  them  into  his  portfolio  1 
for  I  am  anxious  to  know  all  these  circumstances.  After  waiting  some  time, 
I  recollected  that  Lord